Gun Seizures in did it occur?

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Mar 26, 2005
Portland, OR
Please let me outline the scope of my question, then I'll get into the specifics.

This thread is NOT:
-for bashing of the cops/army/private security involved. We know they were doing their job, regardless of our opinion of it.
-for railing against any political party. Not in the scope of my inquiry.

Yesterday, my wife asked me about the confiscations, and I didn't have an answer:

HOW did they find out that the people had firearms? Was there a check of the BATF records?

Did they cite legal precedence when doing so? *IS* there any sort of legal precedence?

Did they present warrants? How thorough were their searches of the homes. Did guns that were buried/hid in unconventional locations make it through the confiscations? i.e. was the examination cursory, or a "tossing" of the residence?

Lastly: I am quite curious just HOW they managed to get folks that were present when the various groups of law enforcement arrived, to admit to the authorities that they had firearms.

Tho not strictly legal in nature, this question is quite tied into the legal aspects of the subject at hand. Specifically, the questions about the BATF records lead me to pause.
I dont know. I started having fun with guns just this year. When I read about the New Orleans confiscation, I was astonished. What happened to the Constitution? The FIRST thing I thought was that this would be the one time when someone would want... and need... their guns. It would seem to be one of the exact reasons that the framers of the Constitution wrote the 2A.

BATFE personel and anyone else who participated in that should be FIRED. They, as U.S. citizens upholding the Constitution, should have REFUSED to confiscate weapons. Yes, I am saying that individual agents and LEOs should be ashamed to the point of resignation. They were put to a test and found wanting. Any BATF or LEO that participated and is still on duty is an embarrassment to all that the U.S of A. represents.

When the Constitution is being fundamentally torn asunder as it was, it was their duty to act against authority and refuse.

I learned a lesson though. The government will try to take weapons in a crisis, and I would not put it beyond politicians to precipitate a crisis for the expressed purpose of confiscating weapons.
They went door to door, and asked. Asked with a gun barrel. As in the case of Ms Konie, they grabbed, beat, and threw her, I mean, asked "forcefully".
without question, it was wrong...but that isn't the scope

I have seen the video of Ms. Konie, but they don't show *how* they arrived.

Did they present a warrant? a proclamation? Did they barge in? Did they knock and ask her if she had firearms? How did they know to knock on that door in the first place? Did she say that she did not?

Again, the goal here is to find out *how* they did it, the mechanics and the legal aspects, not whether or not it was wrong--I think most of us here agree on that point.
It was a knee-jerk reaction.

I guess to the LEOs, it seemed like a good idea, which was why there wasn't really any disobedience.

Put yourself in the shoes of a person whose weapon was confiscated.
LE busts into your house, shoves weapons in your face, demands your guns. What do you do?
anyone have a link to an article that gives a time line of events from start to stop by court order? And are there any recent updates to the status of the stolen weapons?
A quick check of the numbers

Per City Data, there were 188,365 households in NoLa in the year 2000. Another mortgage source shows the number of households at 206,481.

average the two, and I think we have a pretty good number of homes:

consider that a thorough search of a house takes at least a 1/4 hour, and that they would be looking in perhaps 1/2 the houses --98711--all numbers are rounded for easier math. that leaves us with 24678 man-hours to search that number of houses.

This would lead us to think that if you had 2468 guys (at one per residence,) you could do them all in one 10 hour day with no breaks. Of course, they didn't send one person per residence, they sent teams, and some of the locations would take FAR longer than the 1/4 hour allotted.

This leads us back to the original question:

How did they know where to go? Was there an examination of the BATF registries? Gun club rosters? Criminal history? Profiling?

Honestly, I don't know. I am curious to hear if anyone else knows the mechanics used.
I assumed they just went door to door or did they only visit certain houses? Sorry, I answered your question with a question. Would the Freedom of Information Act prove useful in this endevar?
I read in an article ( I don`t remember where) that the police and other authorities went door to door to evacuate people from the homes that were not in livable conditions. But the people that refused to be evacuated gave the cops an excuse to carry out the police chiefs order to enter the homes to conduct searches and seize their firearms. They were using the excuse that people had to evacuate the homes that were not in livable conditions.
I believe WSM Magnum has it right.
The cops were ordered to remove everybody,so they started to go door to door.
If you view the video of the old woman,she is telling them she is fine,
has food and a gun to protect herself.Its when she is holding/showing/sweeping the cops,that the cops grab her and throw her down.
Search youtube for some interviews of people that had their firearms taken.
I don't know that the BATFE was involved.I thought it was just cops.
This is a really good question...

What PRETENSE was used to accomodate the unfounded searches and seizures?

There were no warrants. In most cases, there was no probable cause.

I really think it was two things.

1) Most of the responding EMS and out-of-state police were "blue staters". NoLa is also fairly "blue." You had lots of urban police with blue state mentality showing up to reinforce the remaining factions of the NOPD who hadn't gone AWOL. Group-think kicks in, and all these police from various big cities immediately seize on the idea that:

guns + trouble = unsafe environment​

They do their algebra incorrectly, and deduce that subtracting guns from both sides of the equation will eliminate the unsafe environment. Inner city cops really need to learn their algebra.:evil:

2) The folks left in NOLA suddenly found roving bands of SWAT/NatGuard/LEO's on their front doorsteps. Faced with the choice of shooting misguided cops (and probably dying either immediately or by the responding assault), or surrendering their weapons, they chose the latter.
This lead me to beleive that if I lived in a natural disaster prone area, it might not be a bad idea to have a "seizure" gun... The LEOs knock on my door, I protest a little and hand over a cheap shotgun and/or cheap handgun.

Once they're long gone, the other arms are taken out of secured and concealed storage. I'm willing to wager I can find more nooks and crannies in my house than the police would find in a hurried search.
The context of the order was that most of the city had evacuated, except for pockets of well provisioned hold outs, and roving packs of looters. What I recall is that they wanted to move the holdouts out, and part of that plan was to disarm them so as to make them vulnerable and therefore inspired to evacuate.

From the information I got, some units got the order and disregarded it, others got the order and took action, basically banging on doors and grabbing every gun they could see. No warrants were presented. Rather, the agents executing the illegal search and seizure simply asserted their authority at gunpoint, leaving the person with the choice to comply or shoot.

Considering that most people in the area had no means of communication to know that confiscations were going on, they were basically bushwhacked, not having any reason to suspect that the authorities were calling plays from the SS playbook. It seems that in a couple of cases, they were expecting inquiries into their well being, and instead found themselves cuffed to their curbside while the forces of evil tossed through their homes.

What people imprecisely call "martial law" isn't actually martial law, which AFAIK hasn't been declared since the (last) civil war.

What has been declared are various "states of emergency", which exist for a finite duration in a finite area. States of emergency enable the authorities to wield extraordinary powers, which are spelled out in statute. States of Emergency does not mean the authorities can just start making up stuff as they go along.

Typically, states of emergency enable the local authorities to prohibit the -sale- of liquor, guns, and ammo (on the theory that the emergency is a riot, and liquor, guns and ammo would provide riot fuel) but no one has ever been able to quote me chapter and verse on a statute in Louisiana authorizing the door to door confiscation of arms from peacable people.

Given the various court orders of "knock it the hell off and give people their guns back", I doubt that anyone ever will.
The anecdotal stories seem to point to the relatively weak and helpless being disarmed. I haven't heard of too many well trained and armed citizens being disarmed. Just out of curosity, and not to digress, has anyone heard of anyone fitting that description losing their guns in NOLA?
Its when she is holding/showing/sweeping the cops,that the cops grab her and throw her down.

Quickdraw, I remember seeing that one and getting pissed, the lady was explaining she was ok had food,water, and the flodding in her house was minimal, etc and didn't want to leave her cats. She was holding this old looking white handled revolver, by the barrel showing it to them, some one off camera distracted her and three Gestapo tackled the hell out of her. I'm going to hunt and see if I cant find that video.
Thain, you may not have to... many states have passed laws which specifically state that firearms may not be confiscated in times of emergency in the wake of the disaster in New Orleans. I'm not sure if Michigan is on the list.
No warrants, no legal precedents, no BATF, nothing but armed law enforcement officers knocking down doors, pointing their guns at people, disarming them, and expelling them from the city. It's Mayor C. Ray Nagin's best work.

Try this link and see for yourself: New Orleans Police Illegally Confiscating Guns After Katrina.

If that link doesn't get you to the video (I had problems with it a few minutes ago) click here, look for the video with that title, and click on "Watch Video Here" just below its entry. It worked for me.

While you're there, look at the video entitled "Police Looting in New Orleans." No legal precedent for that either.
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Disarming aside, do they have the authority to forcibly remove people from their houses?

This is something to keep in mind for all of us who think of our selves as "prepared" for SHTF. You may have all of the neato survival gear, food for 5 years and 100,000 round of ammo, but the authorities may just come and make you leave it all behind.
I saw some videos from NOLA, where the police stopped civilians who were in boats helping to rescue others, or rescuing themselves, and the police just basically pulled alongside and asked if they had any weapons. If the civilians replied that they did, they were disarmed and the weapons were taken.

In another video, a Coast Guardsman noticed a rescued man had a weapon, and reported him to the police, where he was then disarmed.
I did a lot of digging on this and never found a situation where warrants were issued for this kind of thing.
It seemed to be something that people below the judiciary level of the Criminal Justice system took upon themselves.
Disarming aside, do they have the authority to forcibly remove people from their houses?

I looked into that.

The holdouts were basically in a state of failing to obey an evacuation order, which is a misdemeanor in LA, max penalty $500. Basically, that's puts it in the same category as a speeding ticket, failure to neuter one's pet, the wearing of sagging pants, and the like.

I suppose, theoretically, they could have been arrested and arraigned, but that would mean that the authorities would have to follow their normal book and release procedures, an unlikely thing under the circumstances.

The law also has the concept that the force employed must be proportionate to the charges. Bashing in doors and forcibly dragging people out of their homes at gunpoint is pretty high on the force scale.

In fact, forcible relocation is considered a war crime.
HOW did they find out that the people had firearms? Was there a check of the BATF records?

I heard a rumor that authorities went to (flooded/evacuated) gun stores and got names/addresses of gun owners from the Form 4473s and then went from there...and that would be one logical scheme if you wanted to seize guns...but I never saw the rumor substantiated.
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