BELLEVUE, WA – The abrupt retirement announcement Tuesday by New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass was “the right thing to do, but not enough,” said Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) founder Alan M. Gottlieb.
“While the departure of Chief Compass may begin a healing process that needs to occur between the police and law-abiding gun owners whose firearms were arbitrarily seized in the days after Hurricane Katrina,” Gottlieb said, “there are many unanswered questions about who actually issued the order to confiscate guns, and the public has a right to know. New Orleans police officers, visiting officers from other jurisdictions and peace officers in surrounding parishes didn’t just collectively dream up that confiscation effort.
“It was almost laughable,” Gottlieb noted, “that right after SAF and the National Rifle Association joined forces in federal court to successfully stop the gun seizures, Mayor Ray Nagin’s office scrambled to distance itself from the statements made by Compass and Deputy Chief Warren Riley that only police would be allowed to have guns, and that everyone else would be disarmed. It is disturbing that Nagin so quickly named Riley as interim chief.”
Gottlieb acknowledged that the gun confiscations were merely the “last straw” in terms of Compass’ final weeks as police chief. Under his watch, New Orleans saw its murder rate climb, and there were continuing problems of corruption within the department. Topping it off, he observed, were the desertions of officers from their posts, and reports that some officers even participated in the looting that followed Katrina.
“Yet, the problem remains,” he said, “that nobody has admitted to being the source of the disarmament order. If it was Ray Nagin, he needs to come clean, although he’s been so busy trying to blame every other Katrina failure on everybody else, it is doubtful he would ever admit issuing an order to take everyone’s guns. If it was Chief Compass, then he ought to say so. If that order came from somewhere else, such as the governor’s office or the state office of emergency services, Louisiana residents are entitled to that information.
“SAF and the NRA went to court to make sure this kind of thing never happens again,” Gottlieb stated. “Finding out who is responsible for originally issuing the order is paramount. Leadership takes backbone. I don’t see much of either right now in New Orleans.”