FEBRUARY 15, 2007
The mayor of New Orleans has been held in contempt for refusing to disclose public records that will reveal who ordered the illegal confiscation of guns from licensed and law-abiding residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
An organizaiton named after the Constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms, sued New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley for violating the civil and constitutional rights of approximately 1,000 licensed gun owners in the chaos folllowing the 2005 storm that destroyed the city.
New Orleans Police and Louisiana National Guard officers were ordered to confiscate all guns and city officials used the weapon license records of law abiding citizens to carry out much of the operation. Claiming that the Constitution may not be suspended by a natural disaster, the gun-rights group sued and Nagin was ordered to provide records during the pretrial discovery phase.
Instead, the mayor and the city attorneys that represent him, have repeatedly ignored the court-ordered docoment request. At a hearing this week, a federal judge in New Orleans granted a motion to hold Nagin and his police chief in contempt for failure to provide the infomration, most of which is public record.
Judge Carl Barbier called the conduct of New Orleans officials “wholly unprofessional” and warned that it will no longer be condoned by the court. The judge also blasted Nagin’s taxpayer-financed attorneys after they admitted there was no good reason or explanation for withholding the records.
Nagin was widely criticized for using official law enforcement lists of licensed gun owners to disarm them while thugs vandalized the city with illegally obtained arms. One columnist wrote that law-abiding gun owners were disarmed just as they most needed to protect themselves and sarcastically added that there were no reports of criminals giving up their guns to comply with the mayor’s edict.
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