Reminiscent of the gun confiscation orders during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is once again flying off the rocker. Mayor LaToya Cantrell has issued an emergency proclamation that sales of guns, ammunition, and alcohol within the city may be suspended. The order also gives police authority to seize any private property they see fit in order to deal with the coronavirus emergency, and gives them the power to force anyone out of their homes for evacuation.
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The Emergency Authority may commandeer or utilize any private property if it finds this necessary to cope with the local disaster emergecy.
The Emergency Authority, on my order as Mayor of the City of New Orleans and Chief Executive Officer of the Parish of Orleans, is hereby empowered to direct and compel the evacuation of any and all persons from any part of the City deemed by the Emergency Authority to be suitable for evacuation, if necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery in accordance with the provisions of Ordinance no. 22,247 M.C.C.
Subject to the provisions of Act 275 of 2006 (Regular Session), the Emergency Authority is hereby empowered, if necessary, to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transporting of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles.
In response, the Second Amendment Foundation vows to sue the city, as they had done previously after the Katrina confiscations:
The Second Amendment Foundation today warned New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell against suspending or limiting the sale of firearms and ammunition under her recently proclaimed State of Emergency due to Covid-19.
Under provisions of her proclamation, the “Emergency Authority” is empowered, if necessary, “to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transporting alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles.”
But SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb is telling Mayor Cantrell, “Wait a minute!”
“Following Hurricane Katrina, we sued the city when then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration began confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens for no good reason. The federal court ordered the city to cease confiscations.
“We sued New Orleans then, and we’ll do it again,” Gottlieb vowed. “The presence of a nasty disease does not suspend any part of the Bill of Rights, no matter what some municipal, state or even federal politician may think.
“While we certainly recognize the seriousness of this virus and its ability to spread rapidly,” he continued, “treating Covid-19 and taking steps to prevent it from infecting more people has nothing at all to do with the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.
“People legally licensed to carry should not have their right to do so suddenly curtailed because some politician panicked,” Gottlieb observed. “We didn’t allow it before, and we’re not going to allow it now.”
Cantrell’s emergency action proclamation says the city is empowered, if necessary, “to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transporting alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles.”
However, it also cautions this action should be tempered under the limits of a 2006 state law, passed the year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, which prohibits the seizure of firearms from law-abiding citizens during a state of emergency. Under HB 760, which was signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, police in Louisiana can disarm someone during a state of emergency when the officer reasonably believes it is necessary for safety. If an arrest is not made or the weapon not seized as part of a criminal investigation, the firearm must be returned. Further, federal legislation was enacted in 2007 which limits such seizures during a major disaster or emergency.
It is believed that New Orleans Police and assisting agencies impounded upwards of 1,200 guns during Katrina, with as many as 552 reportedly still in police lockup more than three years after the storm. Most had been seized without receipts or records, a factor which made returning the firearms even more difficult.
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This is not the first time Mayor Cantrell has issued such orders. On September 3rd, 2018, she issued a nearly identical proclamation in response to potential hurricane and tropical storm landings.
Mainstream media in and around New Orleans seems to be ignoring this, as searches only reveal one article from New Orleans based media covering this, from Nola.com, and even then they just make a vague reference to an emergency order from Mayor Cantrell and don’t cover any details nor do they provide a link to the document.