10 year anniversary
It’s been a decade since Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast. The destruction that occurred was truly catastrophic. What’s worse the storm not only destroyed homes and businesses, but in the days that followed it also brought out some of the worst in our society.
Looters. Thieves. Violent attacks.
A near breakdown of society followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Those that chose to wait out the storm were in many cases left to fend for themselves as law enforcement had either evacuated or were stretched so thin that they could not quickly respond to calls for help.
Targeting gun owners
Many of the Katrina holdouts were nothing more that law-abiding private citizens simply trying to save their life’s belongings. Both from the hurricane, but also from the dregs of society looking to loot and pillage the storm ravaged community of New Orleans.
Yet despite this the New Orleans police administrators decided to go door-to-door targeting gun owners, confiscating their weapons at a time when they were needed most. On September 8th New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass declared “No one will be able to be armed… Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.” Thus began the city-wide warrant-less confiscation operation carried out by the New Orleans Police Department, the U.S. Army National Guard, and Deputy U.S. Marshals.
This trampling on the Second and Fourth Amendments didn’t make many headlines, but it did get covered by ABC news. See a copy of their story embedded below.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
The confiscations continued for nearly two weeks. It took a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Gun Owners of America to finally stop the warrant-less door-to-door firearms confiscation.
Even after a restraining order was filed the City of New Orleans continually denied that it ever confiscated any firearms. It took more than five months of legal proceedings to get the city to even admit that it wrongfully taken more than 1,000 privately owned firearms. Even after it admitting they took the weapons it took the City of New Orleans more than years and several lengthy rounds of legal action to return many of the firearms to their rightful owners.
Lessons learned & work to be done
Civil rights minded and freedom loving Louisiana legislators quickly recognized they had to act to keep this gross disregard for the Bill of Rights from happening again. In early June of 2006 HB760 was signed into Louisiana law. The measure prohibited confiscation of firearms in a state of emergency, unless the seizure is pursuant to the investigation of a crime, or if the seizure is necessary to prevent immediate harm to the officer or another individual.
21 other states quickly passed their own versions. Unfortunately Iowa was not among them.
The Iowa Firearms Coalition is working to guarantee all Iowa’s civil rights are protected during a state of emergency. In 2015 we filed HF45. This bill would prevent the confiscation of any lawfully owned private firearms and ammunition during a state of emergency in the state of Iowa. It would go even further than the Louisiana bill by making sure gun shops and sporting goods stores that sell firearms and ammunition are not targeted by the government and forced to close while other businesses remain open. This would help ensure that during times of emergency Iowans would not only have a means to protect themselves, but also a way to re-stock if need be.
Sadly this bill did not gain any traction during the 2015 legislative session. But expect to see it re-introduced in 2016 and every year that follows until we get this vital bill signed into law.
We firmly believe the right to bear arms does not disappear when the weather gets rough or during any other form of disaster. In fact that’s often when the Second Amendment is needed most. If you agree with us please consider hitting the “Donate” button to support to our cause, or better yet become a member.
Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.