Some of you may know me as a wacky, if-you-can-do-it-so-can-I outdoor writer. And, indeed, I’ve had women come up to me and say things like, “Hey, I read that piece you wrote about gigging for fish on the river and figured if you can do it, I can, too!” I don’t mind having that reputation.
But, as there are always two sides to the coin, there are usually two sides to the writer, and my passion, my other side, is the Second Amendment; it is getting to be more so as I age and see our liberties eroding.
In this month’s issue of America’s 1st Freedom, I wrote an article based on the findings of two trips I made to New Orleans last year, where I scratched the surface of what was happening in light of the city being ordered to comply with orders of a permanent injunction stating it had to “make an aggressive attempt to return any and all firearms which may have been confiscated during the period August 29 to December 31, 2005 [aka remember Hurricane Katrina?].” If you want to see what those poor folks who had their guns taken away in the aftermath of Katrina have to do to reclaim their guns, see this website.
As of last October, only three people have applied to get their guns back. According to a phone conversation I had with Victor Papai (Pappy), City Attorney for New Orleans, the city does not have their guns. I know that the city had at least 1,000 guns in a dirty Ryder truck back in April 2007, when my husband and I joined other NRA members to inventory the cache.
What we found disgusted us. In fact, that article showed up as the cover story in August 2007, titled “The Shame of New Orleans.” Gordon Hutchinson co-authored it with me, and my husband, Jason Baird, did the photography. Gordon then co-authored, with Todd Masson, The Great New Orleans Gun Grab, Descent into Anarchy, and recently reacted to the news about the lack of applicants: “I’m not surprised New Orleans hasn’t had any takers. You saw the condition and quality of the guns when we did the court-ordered inventory. Most of the citizens who lost decent guns to the uniformed goons in the anarchy after the hurricane figured they’d never see their guns again – and they were right. The cops that stole guns didn’t turn in the quality stuff. That went in personal arsenals. The trash was turned in and inventoried.”
Mr. Papai did not return my phone call last week, to see if any more folks had jumped through the hoops to get their rightful property back. It gets worse … I sat on an airplane next to a businesswoman who lived in nearby Slidell, La., last October and she did not even know about gun confiscations. I called a photographer and then, a reporter at The Times Picayune. The photographer said they were not working on following up with a story about the city complying with the injunction. The reporter never called me back.
It gets even worse. According to one of the victims of this atrocity, who had five of her guns taken away from her by U.S. Marshals two weeks after Katrina as she was loading a van to leave the city, a Washington Post photographer was in her group when this happened. That photographer never returned my phone call or email either and has never published any photos or editorial comments about this occurrence.
It seems that some of us are playing this “Let’s all pretend this will go away game,” and indeed it will, in October 2010, when the city’s deadline to comply with the order dies. Meanwhile, people’s freedom was taken away and their trust in their government – from local to federal levels – damaged irreparably.
Recall that on Oct. 9, 2006, Pres. George W. Bushed signed the “Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act,” an amendment to Homeland Security appropriations that protects gun owners’ rights during emergencies. Several states have followed suit with their own versions of this law. How about your state? Do you know what your rights are and what happens when all hell breaks loose and your police chief says, “During circumstances like that, we cannot allow people to walk the streets carrying guns. As law-enforcement officers, we will confiscate the weapon if the person is walking down the street, and they may be arrested.” [N.O. Police Chief Warren Riley said this the day after Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed an amendment to the Louisiana Emergency Powers and Disaster Act (June 2, 2006) that stated law enforcement would not be able to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens unless said citizens were committing a crime. He retracted this statement the next day.]