Sunday, September 18, 2005

Gun confiscation in New Orleans - echo of the past, portent of the future?

In response to the lawlessness witnessed in New Orleans, the government there has decided that the best course of action is to confiscate the legally-owned firearms of citizens who have committed no crime whatsoever. Now, I realize this will stretch the capacities of the people who made this wholly illegal decision but I'd like to quote a well-known document on this matter:

::::::::Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I cannot in any way imagine a situation in modern America more illustrative of a need for a militia than the complete abdication of responsibility by the state and local governments in New Orleans, LA. To literally abandon their citizens, both in terms of providing relief efforts and in protecting them from those who figured the laws no longer apply to them, and then to move forcefully to remove their capacity to protect themselves is not mere incompetence but as un-American as it gets. These people shouldn't be removed from office because they're bumbling fools - although that's a fine enough reason - but because they're dangerously close to instituting decisions down there that that were very much at home in Soviet Russia and socialist nations around the world. And they were at home here, too, once upon a time. This shows an interesting parallel to 1774.

The NRA has now spoken its collective mind. They - we - aren't happy:

::::::::National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre slammed New Orleans authorities Monday for seizing legal firearms from lawful residents.

"What we’ve seen in Louisiana - the breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of disaster - is exactly the kind of situation where the Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect themselves, " LaPierre said.

"When law enforcement isn’t available, Americans turn to the one right that protects all the others - the right to keep and bear arms," LaPierre said. "This attempt to repeal the Second Amendment should be condemned."

The New York Times reported last Thursday that no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to have guns, quoting the superintendent of police that "only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

A Louisiana state statute allows the chief law enforcement officer to "regulate possession" of firearms during declared emergencies. "But regulate doesn’t mean confiscate," said Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist.

"Authorities are using that statute to do what the looters and criminals could not: disarm the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans trying to protect their homes and families," Cox said.

I think this should most definitely be part of any investigation that looks into the response to this hurricane by authorities at all levels.