Senate panel OKs gun-rights bill
Cops can't take arms away in emergency
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
By Ed Anderson
BATON ROUGE -- A Senate committee gave quick approval Tuesday to a bill that would prohibit police agencies from confiscating firearms from individuals during disasters and states of emergency.
With little debate, the Senate Judiciary C Committee passed Senate Bill 93 by Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, a measure endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
McPherson said the bill applies only to those who are legally entitled to carry weapons.
"The constitutions of the state of Louisiana and the United States say an individual has the right to keep and bear arms, but some police agencies relied on emergency powers to seize firearms" during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, McPherson said. "An individual has a right to bring his personal belongings with him, and a firearm is the only possession he has a (constitutional) right to have."
NRA lobbyist Tara Mitchell said the measure is needed because during the tumult of Katrina, New Orleans area police confiscated firearms from people "in their own homes; they were just wanting to protect themselves, their families and their property."
The gun-rights organization filed suit to stop the seizure and have the confiscated firearms returned to their owners. The city recently started a process to give the guns back.
The committee deadlocked, 3-3, on Senate Bill 74 by Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, to require district attorneys to automatically refer to a grand jury any case in which the use of force in defense of another results in a death.
Broome can ask that the bill be taken up again. The seventh member of the committee, Sen. Willie Mount, D-Lake Charles, was absent.
The bill, opposed by the state district attorneys, was filed in response to an incident in which a bystander shot and killed a man who authorities said was beating a police officer recently in Baton Rouge.
East Baton Rouge Parish First Assistant District Attorney John Sinquefield said that the bill would also require homeowners who shoot and kill burglars or home invaders to be brought before a grand jury.
The committee approved Senate Bill 70 by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, to increase the minimum penalty for the possession, manufacturing and sale of methadone to 10 years in prison, up from the current two years. The maximum would remain 30 years. Nevers' bill also increases the maximum fine from $50,000 to $500,000.
Nevers said judges can also impose a combination fine and jail sentence, but the minimum sentences have to be served. He said the bill would bring the penalties in line with those set out for possession, sale or manufacturing of drugs like cocaine and oxycodone.
Nevers said there have been 64 deaths attributed in part to methadone use in St. Tammany Parish in the last year.
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Ed Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or (225) 342-5810.
If I remember correctly the CCW shot the perp 4 times with a .40 or .45 and ended up having to shoot him in the head.
I also think that every shot he fired did hit his target.
This is good news for the good people of Louisiana.