Following complaints from gun-rights groups, FEMA said Monday it is lifting a ban on firearms at temporary housing parks built in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Under the new federal policy, residents can possess and store firearms. Use of weapons is still prohibited in the parks, said Butch Kinerny, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gun rights groups had sought the change, saying the original policy violated Second Amendment protections for gun ownership. Kinerny said FEMA made the change after consulting with lawyers...
Here's a flashback to 10/14's Sheriff's Office request prompts ban on guns at FEMA housing in Baker 10/14/05:
...But a top sheriff's official said that while [keeping guns out was] a "close decision," public safety became the most-important concern rather than constitutional rights.
"I'm a member of the NRA and a firm supporter of the NRA in most instances," said Col. Greg Phares, chief criminal deputy for the Sheriff's Office.
"But in this instance, I had to balance the responsibility of the Sheriff's Office with constitutional rights," Phares added. "I think it's the right decision. It wasn't a comfortable decision, but it is right."
He said the proximity of the 572 "thin-walled" trailers -- situated only 8 feet apart -- created a dangerous situation.
Listen at the link:
All Things Considered, October 12, 2005: The National Rifle Association is using the experience of Hurricane Katrina to document the importance of guns during a disaster. During the chaos in New Orleans post-Katrina, gun purchases by both civilians and law enforcement swelled.
A FEMA trailer city outside Baker LA, known as "FEMA City", bans residents from having firearms according to a report aired on the 10/6 NewsHour. The Second Amendment Foundation is looking into the matter.
10/12 UPDATE: FEMA is reportedly reconsidering their ban.
The TRO that the NRA got to stop gun-grabbing in New Orleans has some statements that seem to run counter to the facts. You've heard of and probably seen video of guns being grabbed, but, as it says here:
Now the appropriate officials [Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans and P. Edwin Compass, III, Superintendent of Police for the City of New Orleans] deny [in the TRO] that they will do it, can do it, or did do it.
So, either your eyes were lying to you, or there's some weird legalistic explanation for their statements in the TRO, or Nagin and Compass lied in the TRO...
Here's the relevant section of the TRO:
Defendants, C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans and P. Edwin Compass, III, Superintendent of Police for the City of New Orleans, deny the allegations in the Complaint For Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief and specifically deny that it was or is the policy of the City of New Orleans nor the New Orleans Police Department to illegally seize lawfully possessed firearms from citizens;
Defendants C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of the City of New Orleans, and P. Edwin Compass, III, Superintendent of the Department of Police for the City of New Orleans, specifically deny each and every allegation in the Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief and specifically reserving all rights herein and waiving none, assert the following:
1. C. Ray Nagin has not issued, nor has he any intention of issuing, any order, declaration, promulgation, and/or directive pursuant to the authority granted unto him by LSA-R.S. 29:721, et seq., ordering the seizure of any lawfully-possessed firearm from law abiding citizens, nor has C. Ray Nagin delegated any authority granted unto him pursuant to LSA-RS 29:721, et seq. to any other city official, department head, officer, employee, and/or agent of the City of New Orleans including, but not limited to, P. Edwin Compass, III, Superintendent of the Department of Police for the City of New Orleans and/or Warren Riley, Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Police of the City of New Orleans;
2. P. Edwin Compass, III acknowledges that no authority has been delegated to him by C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of the City of New Orleans, pursuant to the powers granted unto the said Mayor by the provisions of LSA-RS 29:721, et seq. to order the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms from law abiding citizens and that any and all statements which are allegedly attributed to him in such regard do not represent any policy, statement, ordinance, regulation, decision, custom or practice of either C. Ray Nagin or the City of New Orleans, its agencies and/or departments;
3. C. Ray Nagin and P. Edwin Compass, III affirmatively deny that seizures of lawfully possessed firearms from law abiding citizens has occurred as a result of the actions of officers, city officials, employees and/or agents of the City of New Orleans or any of its departments and further affirmatively deny that any such weapons are presently in the possession of the City of New Orleans, its agents and/or departments;
4. C. Ray Nagin and P. Edwin Compass, III further affirmatively deny that it is the custom, practice and/or policy of the City of New Orleans, either officially or unofficially, to seize and/or confiscate lawfully-possessed firearms from law abiding citizens.
This just in:
(Fairfax, VA) -- The United States District Court for the Eastern District in Louisiana today sided with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and issued a restraining order to bar further gun confiscations from peaceable and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans...
Previously: "NRA, SAF seek TRO to stop gun-grabbing".
People in Louisiana rushed to purchase guns in the chaotic days of looting and lawlessness following Hurricane Katrina, according to law enforcement officials still trying to track down thousands of other weapons that were lost or stolen.
The increase was sharpest in the days immediately following the hurricane, according to FBI criminal history background checks on prospective gun buyers.
The 13,256 checks requested in the first 12 days of September were nearly as many as for the entire month a year ago. FBI officials, careful to avoid being drawn into the politically hot topic of gun ownership, would not speculate on the reason for the increase...
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA) joined with individual gun owners in Louisiana Thursday morning, filing a motion in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking a temporary restraining order to stop authorities in and around the City of New Orleans from seizing firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Arbitrary gun seizures, without warrant or probable cause, have been reported during the past three weeks since the Crescent City was devastated by the hurricane. In cases reported to SAF, police refused to give citizens receipts for their seized firearms. Earlier, SAF insisted that police account for all seized firearms, disclose their whereabouts, and explain how they will be returned to their rightful owners. Authorities have not responded.
Gun confiscations have been highly publicized since the New York Times quoted New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III, who said, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," and ABC News quoted Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley stating, "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."
For example, a San Francisco, CA camera crew from KTVU filmed one incident in which visiting California Highway Patrol officers tackled an elderly woman identified as Patricia Konie, to seize her pistol and forcibly remove her from her home. An ABC news crew accompanying an Oklahoma National Guard unit filmed another incident in which homeowners were handcuffed and disarmed, then released but without their firearms.
Earlier this month, New Orleans Police Superintendent Edwin Compass decided to confiscate weapons in the city:
Kelly Hobbs, a National Rifle Association spokeswoman, said the group had reports from New Orleans that police had gone to homes of people who had recently purchased guns to confiscate them.
"It's really irresponsible for the authorities to try to confiscate guns from law-abiding individuals," said Andrew A. Arulanandam, also an NRA spokesman. He said officials should instead be working to locate and disarm criminals...
The Gun Owners of America was disappointed with Wal-Mart's decision [to stop selling guns during the evacuation]. "In a time of crisis when people say they most need self protection, Wal-Mart says, 'We're not going to do it,' " said GOA spokesman Erich M. Pratt...