The worst part about the gun siezures in New Orleans following Katrina is that, contra the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, they aren't arbitrary at all.

Two national gun rights groups yesterday joined individual Louisiana gun owners in a federal lawsuit to stop authorities from confiscating firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the seizures of guns from law-abiding citizens. They described the confiscations as "arbitrary," "without warrant or probable cause" and thus "illegal."

However, a New York Times article shows that some private citizens are allowed to keep their weapons.

No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

So if you're rich, or Sean Penn, you can carry weapons or hire people to carry them for you; if you're poor you're screwed and you have to depend on the New Orleans Police Department to protect you from rapists and robbers in their free time between looting and deserting.

(HT: Hit & Run and Orin Kerr.)

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