BELLEVUE, WA â€“ Following low-key inquiries that were met with stony silence and official indifference, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today is calling for a federal investigation into reports of gun seizures from law-abiding New Orleans residents, and is demanding that officials there immediately account for all confiscated firearms.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb is also demanding that New Orleans police officials immediately stop the seizures, disclose where those firearms are being kept, how they are secured, the type and number of firearms involved, and how those guns will be promptly returned to their rightful owners, in the condition in which they were originally taken.
“I also want to know under just what authority New Orleans officials are confiscating lawfully-owned firearms from law-abiding citizens,” Gottlieb said. “Where does it say that the state and federal Constitution can be nullified, even briefly, simply because of a hurricane? In every other natural disaster this country has ever faced, people retain their civil rights, including the right of self-defense, but New Orleans and Louisiana state officials have added the sin of arrogance to incompetence and negligence for which they must be held accountable when this is over.”
Gun rights activists have been outraged by a film clip showing a police officer tackling an elderly woman who was armed, in her own home, and later removing her from the premises.
“We know this is only one incident that is being replayed incessantly, and that not all the circumstances are known,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “but this incident, combined with statements by local officials, particularly Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III, that nobody but police will be allowed to have guns, demands a full and complete explanation to the American public. Visiting police and National Guardsmen are in New Orleans to help hurricane victims, and the nation is grateful beyond words. You don’t help people by violating their civil rights or the public trust.”
“There are reports that residents who refuse to leave are being disarmed, anyway,” Gottlieb added, “leaving them to the mercy of any lingering looters and thugs. If true, it is unconscionable. In the anarchy that reigned in the city for days, these armed citizens provided the only protection for their families, businesses and neighborhoods when many police walked off their jobs, and a few even participated in the looting, and the world knows it. The people responsible for making that decision should be immediately disciplined and relieved of command. Visiting officers from other jurisdictions involved in these confiscations should be immediately sent home.
“New Orleans is still part of the United States, not a police state,” Gottlieb concluded.