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Fairfax, VA – August 29th marks the 10-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, La. The memory of the devastation wrought by the storm and the resulting chaos is a human tragedy of such a vast scale that it endures to this day; and will well beyond. Further, the measures taken to disarm law-abiding firearm owners in Katrina’s wake should serve as a testament to why gun owners guard our right to bear arms so vigilantly.

The disorder of the storm’s aftermath – and the inability of local law enforcement to contain it – brought into stark realization the importance of the right to keep and bear arms in order to provide for the defense of oneself, loved ones, and community. Stories of looting and violence abounded. A police chief described post-Katrina New Orleans by stating, “it was like Mogadishu.”

Despite their inability to cope with the resulting mayhem, several days after the storm passed New Orleans officials ordered the confiscation of lawfully-owned firearms from city residents.

In a September 8, 2005 article, the New York Times described the scene, stating, “Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living here… Police officers and federal law enforcement agents scoured the city carrying assault rifles seeking residents who have holed up to avoid forcible eviction.”

As reported by the Washington Post, New Orleans Superintendent P. Edwin Compass made clear, “No one will be able to be armed,” and, “Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.”

At the time, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre noted the nature of the seizures, stating, “In many cases, it was from their homes at gunpoint. There were no receipts given or anything else at a time when there was no 911 response and these citizens were out there on their own protecting their families.”

City authorities were selective with their order, discriminating against the most vulnerable.

The Times noted that the city’s order, “apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property… Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.” 

In 2005 Ray Nagin served as the mayor of New Orleans. Nagin would go on to become a member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, and later federal inmate No. 32751-034, following 2014 convictions for fraud and bribery.

In the years that followed, New Orleans officials were unrepentant.

In a 2006 interview with local radio station WWL, New Orleans Superintendent Warren Riley said, “During a circumstance like that, we cannot allow people to walk the street carrying guns…as law enforcement officers we will confiscate the weapon if a person is walking down the street and they may be arrested.”

NRA immediately denounced the confiscations as unlawful under state law and unconstitutional, and set to work rectifying New Orleans’ abuse of power and ensuring that no American would be faced with confiscation under a similar scenario.

NRA promptly filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against New Orleans in order to halt the city’s confiscation efforts. On September 23, Judge Jay Zainey granted a temporary restraining order barring New Orleans and the surrounding communities from further confiscations, and required that the seized guns be returned. NRA also successfully worked to lift a ban on firearm possession for those living in Federal Emergency Management Agency housing as a result of the storm.

The city dragged its feet in returning confiscated firearms to their lawful owners. However, NRA persisted until 2008, when NRA and New Orleans came to a settlement in which the city agreed to carry out an acceptable procedure for returning the firearms. The agreement allowed owners to get back their guns without documented proof of ownership, which many residents were understandably unable to provide.

NRA’s post-Katrina efforts did not stop at the Louisiana border.

NRA prompted mayors and police chiefs across America to sign a pledge stating that they will, “never forcibly disarm the law-abiding citizens” of their city. 

Further, NRA worked to limit the power of state and local governments to regulate firearms in times of emergency, by advocating for emergency powers reform legislation throughout the country. Currently, over half of the states have some form of emergency powers provision protecting gun owners from government abuse during a crisis.

In 2006, moreover, President George W. Bush signed into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which contained an NRA-backed amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). The amendment prohibits persons acting under color of federal law, receiving federal funds, or acting at the direction of a federal employee from seizing or authorizing the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms or imposing or enforcing certain restrictions on firearms during a state of emergency.

Having gone through such a horrific ordeal, in the years after Katrina New Orleans residents exhibited a greater appreciation for their right to bear arms. The number of Right-to-Carry permit holders in the city doubled from 2004 to 2006.

In reporting the experience of Vivian Westerman, a sixty-four-year-old that stayed in her home during Katrina, the Associated Press noted that, “So terrible was [Katrina] that [Westerman] wanted two things before the next hurricane season arrived: a backup power source and a gun.”

Westerman told the AP that after purchasing a .38-revolver, “I’ve never been more confident.”

In September 2008, when Hurricane Gustav threatened the city, the New York Post reported that those remaining in the city were “locked & loaded,” and detailed the stories of several armed residents.

As we remember the terrible devastation of Katrina, gun owners should further commit themselves to ensuring that Americans are never again deprived of the ability to defend themselves in their hour of need.

A decade later, Wayne LaPierre’s words following Katrina are still as relevant as ever, “The lesson of New Orleans is that citizens must be able to rely on their own ability to survive. The answer once and for all to politicians who say Americans don’t need the Second Amendment, government will protect you, the answer forever more is New Orleans.”

About the NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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  1. Isn’t that video Remembrance Of our dear President Obama Sounds just like him, Even though there was a bush in office at the time. Unfortunately America is changing and not for the better. These politicians that get elected By means Not so sure to me Take over this country And do away with our freedom and our constitutional rights that are guaranteed to us. It’s a travesty what those people had to go through Kama Shoot Sure sign of tyranny!

  2. The Democrat jackboots should have been summarily executed. Wishful thinking, I know, but at least a few dead Totalitarian Democrats would send a powerful message to the rest.

    • I believe that should any proposed legislation be found unconstitutional, the politicians who signed and proposed the legislation should be banned from further proposals, relieved of their positions, or tried for treason, depending on the severity. Same for a politician who allows unconstitutional action to take place, like the Katrina stuff. Watch how quickly antigun proposals stop coming.

      America is in the gutter right now because politicians don’t face consequences.

      • Well Said and 100% agree Silver….

        You know, had it not been for 1 man calling the NRA and letting them know what was going on…
        these people would have been Screwed even Worse!

        It was approx. 5 to 6 years AFTER this had happened before I even knew this had goned down, there wasn’t anything on the “Regular News” stations that I ever saw showing this!……????

    • Sadly that is what we have come to. Our government is so far past caring what we believe it is coming down to armed citizens vs the government. It is getting worse every day. I believe it is going to get bloody very soon. I hope that enough people who talk so tough on the net are actually going to stand up when the time comes. It is coming soon.

      • When it happens, I highly doubt that most Americans will even realize what is going on. The won’t be a blazing “the British are coming!” moment.
        The feds don’t need to use the military to do their dirty work here, and have enough alphabet agencies that are willing & able to serve warrants rubber-stamped by paid-for judges. They’ll do it piecemeal with dedicated teams in delivery trucks, not MRAPs; and the media will dutifully report that shots fired & deaths were the result of a crazed drug-dealer or “homegrown terrorist” fighting a lawful arrest attempt.
        And the internet warriors who talk a hard line will wet their pants when a tactical team snatches them off their front porches or crashes through their front door.

        • “And the internet warriors who talk a hard line will wet their pants when a tactical team snatches them off their front porches or crashes through their front door.”

          That is an assumption I would not stake my life on if I was paid to enforce unconstitutional laws.

          It is simple that statist tactics would be to target the American outside of their home, which just means to have a truck gun to reinforce your moral line, which is a line backed by intestinal fortitude.

  3. “The amendment prohibits … seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms or imposing or enforcing certain restrictions on firearms during a state of emergency.”
    I’m sure all you’d have to do is inform the LEO of that and they’d turn around and apologize. The city of Philadelphia definitely didn’t get the memo, last I heard they were refusing to repeal a law that authorizes confiscation in just such a situation. My bet is many cities are the same story. Its not like most pols care, they don’t pick up the tab when the city gets sued well after the fact.

  4. I wonder, having taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, what kind of person does it take to carry out such a heinous command? Have we as a society sunk so low that those of us who volunteer to defend our freedoms have forgotten exactly what that oath means?

    • The problem is that for every good, honest soldier or LEO who believes in the oath, there are others who joined up either to get money, scholarships, status, legally murder people, or just fill their sick desire to be a bully. It’s the same way with politicians. Does anyone actually believe that the vast majority have integrity when it comes to their oath?

      As has been shown many times in the past with Katrina being just another on the pile, soldiers and cops will obey whatever corrupt, illegal command they’re given, and they will turn on the American people. Many individual soldiers and cops may not, but as a whole, they will.

      • Positions of power and/or authority, on average, probably don’t attract the best kinds of people.

    • Along the same lines Gman, we already have the Law of the Land written on paper (the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution). If police and national guardsmen ignored that written law, why would they honor a newer written law saying the same thing?

      • The only way I would do that is if I could instantaneously stream video of the entire incident to the Internet. Otherwise evidence will be planted, you will all of a sudden have a criminal past and no one will care and you will be forgotten.

    • “This scares the crap out of me. What are you gonna do? Engage 10 ‘assualt cops’ ?”

      The old saying of on the first day some innocent state sanctioned agents will die, but on the second day none will.

      Life is about choices, and most trained and skilled patriots will not let the enemy dictate their tempo.

  5. “The agreement allowed owners to get back their guns without documented proof of ownership, which many residents were understandably unable to provide.”

    Perhaps you meant “with” and not “without”?

    • I think he did mean “without”. As in, the police were demanding to see receipts and such before giving back the guns they stole, and people whose houses were just blown over or flooded out in a massive hurricane probably couldn’t find such documentation.

  6. Maybe instead of confiscating lawfully owned firearms the police could have been taking care of their own officers who were looting WalMart and stealing cars from dealerships.

    • Nah!
      No time for that, after the extended coffee breaks and so forth, besides, insurance will cover the stolen items.

  7. Simply put, “why no officer, I have no weapons here. No you may not enter my house. Get a warrent.”

    And if someone decided to not comply with their “lawful orders” they would surely be arrested unjustly. Even worse: someone stand up and fires back at officers. Then they are labeled as madmen and criminals for defending their rights and property.

  8. “…Right-to-Carry permit holders…”

    Wait, if it’s a right to carry, why do you need a permit?

  9. Among the many reasons I live in Idaho –
    From the Idaho Statues:
    46-601. Authority of governor. (1) The governor shall have the power in the event of a state of extreme emergency to order into the active service of the state, the national guard, or any part thereof, and the organized militia, or any part thereof, or both as he may deem proper. …
    (3) During the continuance of any proclaimed state of extreme emergency, insurrection or martial law, neither the governor nor any agency of any governmental entity or political subdivision of the state shall impose additional restrictions on the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition.

    18-3302J. Preemption of firearms regulation. (1) The legislature finds that uniform laws regulating firearms are necessary to protect the individual citizen’s right to bear arms guaranteed by amendment 2 of the United States Constitution and section 11, article I of the constitution of the state of Idaho. It is the legislature’s intent to wholly occupy the field of firearms regulation within this state.
    (2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city, agency, board or any other political subdivision of this state may adopt or enforce any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance which regulates in any manner the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying or storage of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition.

      • Do you know any members of he US military who are not Pentagon warriors? The guys I know who actually serve in the combat units are not going to follow the illegal orders of a C-in-C who hates the military, because that feeling is reciprocated by the majority of active duty and veteran military members. Obambi would have to bring in the troops with the baby blue helmets, and they would dissolve like sugar in hot water when they fanned out into flyover country.

  10. Thank goodness the “leadership” of this country isn’t trying to provoke a race war to justify attempting to seize privately held firearms.

    • … and cancelling elections to stay in office indefinitely, probably dissolving Congress in the process.

  11. All of the people in that video told or showed the cops they had weapons. I’m curious:

    1. Does anyone know of any actual cases during Katrina where people refused to answer the weapons question and were still seached?

    2. Does anyone know if the confiscators during Katrina had any lists of guns and gun owners they were working from or were they just going house to house?

    • Yes, it would be interesting to know what their procedure was. If they’re just going door-to-door asking if people have guns, there seem to be a couple of ways to deal with that.

      1) “No, sir. Do you have one you could loan me? It’s scary as shit out here. Have a nice day.”

      2) “Yeah, I have this beat-to-hell single-shot .410 that’s not worth more than its scrap metal value. Here you go.”

      Hmmm… Might be worth going back to the LGS and picking up that $49 used Lorcin they had in the case. Plus, I’d be doing a good deed by preventing someone else from buying that piece of crap expecting it to be a gun.

    • @jonhf

      You have to copy and paste the link, but it is the perspective of one of the military disarmers trying to justify himself not getting lit up for disobeying his oath to the Constitution.

      The best confiscation I saw was a boat of sheriffs trying to broad and search a private boat. I would have told them to pound sand and retreated a great distance, in order to not be heard putting a large caliber hole below the lapdogs boats water line.

  12. If New Orleans was like Mogadishu, then the Danziger Bridge incident was Blackhawk Down. Yes, there were murders committed in NO in Katrina’s aftermath, but it was the cops who were committing them.

    The cops needed to disarm their intended victims, and that’s what they did with the blessing and encouragement of Mayor Ray Nagin, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.


    Never forget that this story isn’t just news because of an anniversary. It’s news because the evil army of blue (D) think that by bringing it up again they can get some negative traction against Republicans and Conservatives like they did during Katrina BUT WHICH WAS ALL BS.

    LA (and especially New Orleans) had BILLIONS of dollars thrown at it, and the dumb liberal a-hole (D) communist bastards still managed to look like a 3rd world country. All those refugees were POS, and they got distributed across the southern states.

    FUNEW ORLEANS – the Indians warned you about Lake Ponchatrain hunreds of years ago, you just wanted the welfare cash you pieces of sh_t

  14. There’s never been a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than New Orleans. And that’s just referring to the politicians and police.

    3rd world banana republic stupidity, incompetence, and corruption in Ray Nagan’s “chocolate city” (that was his name for it, not mine.)

    • Maybe. In NO there was the a lot of water and this allowed the scum to float to the surface.

      Cook Co Illinois is as bad.
      Much if not all of Maryland

      Add to the list.

  15. THIS was known-a few dead cops/military might have stopped it. Look what happened at the Bundy ranch,in Ferguson and when armed folks confront their benevolent gubmint.

  16. Never Forget
    Always try, Always improve.
    The NRA is not perfect. I am not perfect. I am the NRA.

    I was there.

  17. Always have at least 1 stash gun and ammo. Even if the goons clean out your safe you always have at least 1 to fall back on.

    Remember, the weapon is the man, not the gun. A stash gun or a machete or a boar spear or a compound bow, in the hands of a man with the right mindset, will replenish any illegally confiscated firearms. Might get some FA giggle switch equipped toy to replace your semi auto with.

  18. I was an Army MP that participated in search and rescue activities after Katrina on the Mississippi gulf coast. They moved us down to Keesler AFB prior to the storm and riding that out was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. I saw plenty of armed civilians out after the storm, and we had no issues with them. Most of them volunteered to help with S&R or clean up. This is a video slide show of some of the things I saw down there, notice that none of the armed civilians in the pictures are being harassed:

    • Not that I’m aware of. All of the confiscations I heard about were conducted by local law enforcement and a few LA National Guard troops who were mobilized under title 32 (State) orders. Some of those National Guard troops did refuse to participate in what they considered to be an illegal order, but I don’t know how many or if there were any repercussions for them. I was a Title 10 (Federal) Army MP on the Mississippi Gulf coast at the time and we were never given any orders regarding legally armed civilians. We were just told to comply with UCMJ in regards to lethal force and let local law enforcement handle any non-violent criminal activity.

  19. Do we have to keep calling this serial armed robbery “confiscation”?

    Just call it criminal, or theft, or robbery.

  20. It is said that New Orleans is at the mouth of the Mississippi River. If the Mississippi were an alimentary tract New Orleans would be at the other end.

  21. I believe it was JWT just a few weeks ago who wrote the cautionary tale to the world at large. Basically he said “do not make threatening actions towards me, forcing me to make a choice”. LEO or other.

    First thoughts I had when reading that armed LEO would be attempting to confiscate from me…

  22. I am 125 miles down the road in Mobile. Let’s give the 2nd Amendment Foundation credit also as the lawsuit was a joint effort.

    The only problem was that no monetary damages were sought under 42 USC 1983 for the actual seizure of the firearms and for the terrible condition of the firearms when finally retrieved.New Orleans committed perjury and was never punished.

    “The Great New Orleans Gun Grab” is an excellent book that details it all.

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