To those head-in-the-sand people who say mass gun confiscations
couldn’t happen in America, a new book is the perfect response.
The Great New Orleans Gun Grab: Descent into
Anarchy details the
appalling story of how, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, law enforcement
officers in New Orleans took legally owned firearms from residents
who had committed no crime.
The book was written by Gordon Hutchinson and Todd Masson. Hutchinson was an officer with the 82nd Airborne Division during the Vietnam era and is now a firearms writer and shooting sports columnist. Masson is an award winning writer and editor for Louisiana Sportsman and several other outdoor magazines.
I recounted in detail one of the stories of survival that came out of New Orleans and touched on some of the gun confiscations in one chapter of my book, Thank God I Had a Gun. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina deserved a book of its own and The Great New Orleans Gun Grab is it. The stories are well told and the writing is excellent. I particularly liked the details of the people and neighborhoods involved in each incident. However, it is difficult for a gun owner to read the book without getting angry at the criminal behavior of those who were sworn to uphold the law.
The stories include:
In most cases the police officers were trying to force people to obey a “mandatory evacuation order.” The authors speculate that the real reason for trying to get many of these residents out of the city was to stop them from making critical comments to the news media about the incompetence of the authorities.
One of the most disturbing parts of the book is the epilogue. The attempt by the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation to stop the confiscations and get the illegally seized guns returned to their owners is called “The Second Battle of New Orleans.” The authors recount how lawyers for New Orleans first denied in federal court that the city had any seized firearms. After delaying and obfuscating for months, they admitted having more than 1,000 guns but when revealed, most were rusted beyond repair. Nearly three years later most of the firearms have not been returned to their owners.
As a result of the illegal gun confiscations, the Louisiana
legislature passed a law that specifically prohibits law enforcement
officers from seizing legally owned guns from law-abiding residents
during emergencies such as hurricanes. Asked what he thought of
the new law in a radio interview, the chief of the New Orleans
police, Warren Riley, stated: “During circumstances like
that, we cannot allow people to walk the streets carrying guns.
As law-enforcement officers, we will confiscate the weapon if the
person is walking down the street, and they may be arrested.”
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