August 29, 2007

BELLEVUE, WA – Two years ago today, New Orleans and the surrounding area was pounded by Hurricane Katrina, and in the following days, police and National Guard units, acting under orders that violated both the federal and Louisiana state constitutions, illegally seized without warrant or probable cause, hundreds of privately-owned firearms.

After the Second Amendment Foundation successfully halted the gun seizures in a federal lawsuit, the city undertook a campaign of stonewalling and stalling in an effort to retain those wrongly-confiscated firearms. That effort continues today, and it is time for the Ray Nagin administration to end this demagoguery and return those guns, said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. SAF was joined in the landmark lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.

“We know those firearms have been deliberately allowed to deteriorate, many beyond repair,” Gottlieb stated. “Considering that, we now call upon the City of New Orleans to locate every gun owner and either reimburse them for the full value of their firearms, or simply replace those guns outright.

“The Nagin administration has danced around this issue for 24 months,” he continued. “At first they lied about having the guns at all, and then, threatened with a federal contempt order, admitted they did have the firearms. But the city, and its attorney, have done everything possible to stall and frustrate efforts to return those firearms to their rightful owners, despite a contempt citation from the court.

“We want those guns returned now,” Gottlieb said. “If a firearm is permanently damaged due to the city’s negligence, the owner should be given cash to replace the gun immediately, or the city should purchase a new firearm and give it to the rightful owner.

“Billions of dollars have been poured into the Katrina recovery effort,” Gottlieb noted, “and some of that money should be used to replace those stolen firearms. Those guns were taken without due process, without warrant, and without probable cause, so they were essentially stolen from the people who owned them. It is long past the time when those guns should be given back.”

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