BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has reached an agreement with the City of New Orleans in a 2005 federal lawsuit that stopped the city from seizing firearms in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The landmark lawsuit, a joint effort by SAF and the National Rifle Association, was filed in September 2005 after police and National Guardsmen began confiscating firearms without warrant or probable cause from citizens who were not suspected of committing any crimes. Under terms of the settlement, which now awaits a judge’s signature, the city must try to return all firearms that were seized. Gun owners will be notified by mail within 30 days of the court’s approval that they can retrieve their guns.
“While we are delighted that this case is now settled,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, “it should never have been necessary. When a disaster strikes, no government entity or official should arbitrarily decide that citizens must be disarmed and left defenseless, and that is what happened in New Orleans. These gun seizures were conducted without legal authority, under color of law and often at gunpoint, and that must never be allowed to happen again anywhere on American soil.
“What happened in the days after Hurricane Katrina was an outrage,” he continued. “We hope this permanent injunction sends a signal to mayors and police chiefs everywhere that we live in a nation of laws, and those laws are not subject to their whims. You do not suspend Constitutional rights just because of a storm or earthquake or some other natural or man-made disaster.
“We are proud to have partnered with the NRA on this effort,” Gottlieb stated. “This is not simply a victory for SAF or NRA members in New Orleans, but for all American gun owners. Despite indifference and obstruction by the city, perseverance has prevailed.”