Big Easy hard on gun rights
By Dimitri Vassilaros
September 18, 2005
Businesses selling bumper stickers that read "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" also should offer one with the rejoinder "We told you so."
In spite of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina -- and then by its citizens -- New Orleans still is the "Big Easy" because of its total and effortless vandalizing of the Second Amendment.
Say what you will about the astounding ineptitude of Mayor C. Ray "Not My Fault" Nagin and Police Superintendent P. Edwin "Me Neither" Compass III who, when interviewed jointly, wear "I'm with stupid" T-shirts with arrows pointing at each other. Who could have predicted that their gun grabbing would be almost lethally efficient?
As New Orleans devolved into a less civilized version of Kevin Costner's "Waterworld," and as vandals, looters and rapists shouted "Laissez les bons temps rouler" ("Let the good times roll") while shooting at rescue helicopters and other signs of civilized behavior, police started confiscating the guns of their fellow New Orleanians.
Well, at least from those not shooting at them.
The government started tracking down law-abiding gun owners to ensure that civilians could not have pistols, shotguns or other firearms. "Only law enforcement are (sic) allowed to have weapons," Mr. Compass said.
That would be about 500 fewer people who had been in law enforcement before his cops abandoned their posts, fellow officers and citizens who were counting on them.
"When the police superintendent articulated it was a state of emergency, he admitted he did not know if he had the authority to do that," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "He just did it."
But security guards hired by businesses and individuals kept packing heat since no one dared order them to drop their M-16s and other assault riles.
Police preferred to handcuff homeowners to make the Big Easy gun confiscation easier. "Now that the city is relatively calm, they also went to areas that were not flooded, including to $1 million houses," Mr. Pratt said. "Now that they get disarmed, who will be there to protect them?"
There were no reports of criminals giving up their guns to comply with the mayor's edict. Perhaps because they realized the government made it less likely they would be shot during their reign of terror, especially if they headed for higher ground in more affluent neighborhoods.
The situation probably is still too chaotic to determine if police were referring to lists of licensed gun owners, including those who had to get permits from the politicians to carry concealed weapons. But detailed records of law-abiding gun owners sure would have come in handy to disarm them just as they most needed to protect themselves.
There is still time for the Million Mom March to charge into New Orleans like when the saints go marching in to be human shields for defenseless homeowners. And for potential victims to exploit gun show loopholes to protect themselves -- until a cop knocks on the door.
The Greater New Orleans Buy Back Committee had its annual drive last month to get guns off the streets. It netted 244 weapons from citizens fed up with the violence guns create when they have a mind to. Two days later, Katrina made landfall.
Do you think any former gun owners are having second thoughts?