BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is calling upon U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to investigate New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley over his announcement last week that police in his city would once again confiscate privately-owned firearms in the event of another catastrophic storm like Hurricane Katrina.
During a live interview with a New Orleans radio station, Riley acknowledged that citizens may, under state law, carry firearms. He said, however, that police will confiscate firearms, and may arrest people, arguing that “During an exigent circumstance like that, we cannot allow people to walk the street carrying guns.”
Last summer, SAF was joined by the National Rifle Association in a federal lawsuit against post-Hurricane Katrina gun seizures. That successful lawsuit in federal district court resulted in a restraining order, and subsequent injunction.
“We believe Riley’s decision is a flagrant disregard of the federal court action, Louisiana state law and both the Louisiana and federal constitutional protections of the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said in his letter to Gonzales.
“We’re writing to General Gonzales in an effort to prevent Riley and officers under his command from committing the same egregious civil rights violations they did last year,” Gottlieb explained. “It is outrageous that Riley would plan such actions when he knows they violate both state law and the state and federal constitutions. His claim that ‘exigent circumstances’ would allow such confiscations is preposterous.
“We are forced to address this issue to Attorney General Gonzales because we know that anti-gun Mayor Ray Nagin would never tell Riley to belay that order, nor would the mayor fire Riley for willfully violating the firearms civil rights of his constituents,” he said.
“Misuse of police power is a serious matter,” Gottlieb said. “Nowhere in America can a police official violate the civil and constitutional rights of citizens within his jurisdiction under the color of law. We find it necessary to keep reminding administrators like Riley that this is still the United States, not a police state.”