Skip to comments.FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS NEW ORLEANS GUN SEIZURES
Posted on 09/24/2005 10:40:54 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana this afternoon issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA), bringing an end to firearm seizures from citizens living in and around New Orleans.
District Judge Jay Zainey issued the restraining order against all parties named in a lawsuit filed Thursday by SAF and NRA. Defendants in the lawsuit include New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Chief Edwin Compass III.
This is a great victory, not just for the NRA and SAF, but primarily for law-abiding gun owners everywhere, said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. We are proud to have joined forces with the NRA to put an end to what has amounted to a warrantless gun grab by authorities in New Orleans and surrounding jurisdictions.
Over the past three weeks, he continued, residents who had lost virtually everything in the devastation following Hurricane Katrina had also essentially been stripped of something even more precious, their civil rights, and their right of self-defense, because of these gun seizures.
SAF and NRA had no alternative but to take action, Gottlieb added. If these gun confiscations had been allowed to continue without challenge, it would have set a dangerous precedent that would have encouraged authorities in other jurisdictions to believe they also could suspend the civil rights of citizens in the event of some other emergency.
What must happen now, and quickly, said Gottlieb, is for authorities in the New Orleans area to explain how they will return all of those firearms to their rightful owners, and do it promptly. What this ruling affirms is that even in the face of great natural disasters, governments cannot arbitrarily deprive citizens of their rights. Thanks to some great teamwork between SAF and the NRA, this sort of thing will hopefully never happen again.
The Second Amendment Foundation is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers & an amicus brief & fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.
Guns cause epilepsy???
Good news indeed. Now how about returning the stolen firearms?
Give that old lady her gun back, NOW!
Thank God for SAF, NRA and JPFO - because the "justice" Dept. sure as hell wasn't of any help taking the lead here. Too busy looking for pot smokers and porn peddlers, no doubt.
Local law officials in NOLA would have been happy when only the gun looters had firearms.
I did not even know this was going on.
Oh my god! A mayor deciding to suspend one article of the constitution. Wow!
Gun-grabbers all over the country are wondering what hit them!
BTW, where is Hizzoner Mayor Nagin? Haven't seen anything of him on TV since the levees broke (again). Is he holed up with his family in Dallas?
Somebody help me out here...were the cops taking guns from people by force or coercion, or were they collecting them (sans owner) in houses they raided looking for survivors?
Has anyone seen the ruling, or know on what basis the court ruled? I'd be very surprised (and pleased!) if the court found a Second Amendment violation. My guess is that they were either upholding some LA RKBA statute, or found some procedural problems with how the policy was carried out.
Now, after the cleanup, prosecute those responsible and put them in prison. Set an example.
As usual, a zany court ruling, too little, too late.
They were finding armed survivors in their homes and taking their guns and then forcing them to evacuate.
the cops taking guns from people by force!
I've realized over time, that it is much harder and distasteful for any 'agent of the government' to SEIZE
your weapons IF they KNOW your guns ARE LOADED!
From the reports that I have seen, the cops and the military were taking the weapons from houses that were empty, while the houses were being searched for bodies and survivors. That does not mean that they have been frisking the people that remained to relive them of the weapons that they had on their persons.
Praise be SAF and NRA!
I find it hard to believe the cops were taking guns from live people, but find it completely believable they were taking them from unoccupied houses. I sure hope they made note of where and who they took them from. So, under whose or what authority did they do this?
A gun-grab is a gun-grab, no matter how it's done. When a law enforcement agency seizes firearms from law-abiding firearms owners, and the chief of police announces that no one but police will be allowed to have guns, I call that a gun-grab in direct violation of the Second Amendment. Chief Compass needs to be hit up the side of the head with a copy of the United States Constitution.
Among other things...
Please don't jump my case here. I know that the term "Marshall law" does not exist in Louisiana law. I followed threads on the subject of Marshall law in NOLA, and read articles in the Times Picayune, etc. dealing with the subject.
After reading up on the subject, it seemed to me that: 1) Louisiana's constitution allowed for the declaration of a cumbersome equivalent of suspension of civil rights, and, 2) that LA's governor and NO's mayor had taken steps to invoke it.
So the question is, if civil liberties have been suspended by whatever the established means are under the state's constitution, isn't it legal to seize guns even though the civil right is granted in the US Constitution. NOTE: I'm not saying it's right, I'm asking if it's legal once civil rights have been suspended.
Plaintiffs in the suit against the City of New Orleans are two local gun owners. One, whom Mr. LaPierre identified as Buell Teel, was on a boat rescuing people. "To protect himself, he had a firearm on the boat," which police saw and seized, Mr. LaPierre said.
Compass (NO police superintendent) explained that the gun confiscation order had also been expanded to include weapons possessed by law abiding citizens, even those with valid, state-issued concealed weapons permits. "No one will be able to be armed," Compass told the Washington Post. "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns."
Lott said he is also disappointed that police appear to be engaging in "selective" gun confiscation. After Compass expanded the original order, the New York Times reported that it, "apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property." Police officials would not respond to reporters' questions about allowing the guards, who are private citizens with firearms training similar to concealed weapons permit holders, to keep their guns.
Video of forcible gun seizure and evacuation: http://www.ktvu.com/video/4946889/detail.html
At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. "No one is allowed to be armed. We're going to take all the guns," says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.
Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here. No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.
IMO, a correct reading of the Constitution means such an action is violation of the Second Amendment, and therefore illegal. However, under the current sorry ass state of case law, there is no individual RKBA protected by the Second Amendment in the eyes of the courts. (the Miller case implied that there is an individual RKBA, but that seems to be ignored)
AFAIK, no anti-RKBA law has been struck down by USSC on the basis of a 2A violation.
First, I'd like to correct my embarrassing spelling in the earlier post (i.e.,
Marshall martial). :/
Second, I think you're right about the RKBA not being part of those civil liberties that can be suspended when martial law is declared.
I'm just wondering what, if any, "logic" was behind the decision to confiscate weapons.
I dunno. I though the U.S. Constitution, with its attendant 2nd Amendment, would have supremacy over LA's suspension of civil rights, since 2a states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The interpretation of that I've read was that it applied to the federal government until just after the civil war, and then it applied to the states, too. In other words, it now overrides LA's civil rights suspension.
Personally, my reading of 2a seems to imply its application to all levels of government from ratification onward, but I'm just an angry little dust mote in the grand scheme of things. :-)
Thanks for setting me straight. The CHP guys must have trouble sleeping at night. Then again, what is that statement about "absolute power corrupts absolutely?"
Second, where is Johnny Cochran and the like for this poor old woman? She surely has a case against the CHP, right?
Third, I wonder if the DUmmies have anything to say about this? Don't they specialize in 'justice?'
Haha! Great point! Clearly a case of a middle/working class person being oppressed by the authorities -- and not a peep from the left.
The left was probably cheering when the cops took away her firearm. We all know how the left hates anyone that owns a gun, black, white, green, red or yellow. I dont see any of the left wingers give up their armed security guards. I doubt that they ever will.
It's a start.
I guess you did not see the video of the CHP (yes California Highway Patrol!) officer relieving the little old lady of her revolver. She was just showing the officers, who had come to "Talk" her into leaving, that she had food, water and protection. She was not holding the weapon by the grip, she had the palm of her hand around the cylinder. California's finest tackled her and shoved her against the wall of her kitchen, and then to the ground. The poor woman was shell shocked as they lead her away. She had previously stated to the police "I don't want you in here", yet they remained, absent both probable cause to believe a crime was being committed, and absent a warrant.
Then there is the other video of the police handcuffing, perhaps with plastic cable ties, several people in their fairly upscale (and never flooded) neighborhood. The police took their guns, but did not arrest them, or otherwise accuse them of any crime.
The NRA and SAF have reportedly documented around 40 such cases.
Both the police commissioner and chief of police have been shown on video making statements like "no one but law enforcement may have a gun" and "we are going to take all the guns". Now they both deny issuing any confiscation orders as does the mayor. They made these denials in documents filed in Federal Court, in spite of the video evidence. Federal Judges are in general not amused when people lie to them.
Other than a provision for suspension of habeas corpus in both the US and LA constitutions, there are no such provisions for suspension of Constitutional rights. BTW, the right is not *granted* by either constitution, it's protected by them, as you can see by the wording
"The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person." Article 1, Section 11. (Louisiana Constitution)
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Amendment II, Constitution of the United States
As you can see, in both cases the right is assumed to be preexisting, and the state (Meaning the government) is enjoined from infringing or abridging that right.
LA law does provide for suspension of all sorts of rights, given a declaration of emergency. But what good is a Constitutionally protected right, if a mere executive action can negate it.
Considering it was Federal Court, it's unlikely to be a LA statute, or even the RKBA provision of the LA constitution, which is slightly clearer than the second amendment, stating the right belongs to "each citizen", rather than "the people"
Interestingly, the second amendment (like the whole bill of rights) only applies to the Federal Government. Some of the Bill of Rights has been 'incorporated' into the 14th amendment against the states. But that was just left-wing judicial activism expanding federal judicial power over the States. A proper interpretation of the Constitution would allow the states to do pretty much whatever they want vis-a-vis firearms.
What about the fact that there was nothing even remotely resembling due process of law, since the police chief had no authority to issue blanket seizures of anything? If the police chief had declared that nobody except the police were allowed to have toaster ovens, and that all toaster ovens were to be confiscated until further notice, that would have been no more legitimate than the gun seizure order he gave.
I'm sure he thought he had the authority, as LA law allows for restrictions on weapons possession under a state of emergency.
So he probably had some statutory authority, but no Constitutional (LA constitution) authority to do what he did. In fact he has a Constitutional (again LA Constitution) prohibition against it
But you are probably right, it would be a fifth amendment due process violation as well as fourth amendment unreasonable search and seizure violation. Until we see the brief and the order and justification for it, if any was given, we won't know.
Preferably one laser cut into a 2 X 4,, or engraved onto a large crowbar.
Louisiana laws allows for much infringement and abridgment of the RKBA during a State Of Emergency. However the constitutions of the US and LA make no such exceptions, AFAIK. I know the US Constitution does not.
It's pretty well settled that any law in contravention to the Constitution of the state in question, or of the Federal Constitution is not a law at all, no one is obliged to obey such as fax "law", nor is any court allowed to enforce it.
It's not true that the all the circuit courts do not recognize an individual RKBA. The fifth circuit does, and it just so happens that the fifth circuit, and the Federal District Court for Southern Louisiana which is in the Fifth Circuit, are headquartered in New Orleans, although temporarily operating out of other locations. That's gonna end up being kind of hard on Hizzoner the Mayor, the Police Commish, the Chief of Police and possibly the Guvn'r. It's already beginning to be.
This is just a temporary injunction, AFAIK, and so is just a beginning. A good one, but still just a beginning.
True, but there hasn't been any ruling on an anti RKBA law where the second amendment was invoked, since the late 1930s. Lots of them passed since then of course. The action has been in the lower courts, including the Circuit Courts of Appeals.
The Supreme Court has been loathe in the extreme to take a Second Amendment case. The last time, they got off easy, there was no representation for one party to the case, and it wasn't the government side. That won't happen again, should they take such a case.
I agree. And you can count on the BANGLIST to be on top of it!