... and it doesn't quite add up.
As far as I can tell, it amounts to a claim that the confiscation never
happened and was not official policy. They are on videotape about
this ("Only the police can have guns"). We have at least one
report (via the Geek with a .45,
only 2 degrees from the eyewitness) of National Guard units
confiscating firearms. We have a video of what are, apparantly,
California Highway Patrol officers tackling an old woman to take her
revolver, and leaving gun owners in handcuffs while their weapons were
confiscated ("They were jealous because ours were bigger than theirs.").
I expect that the city will now engage in a massive coverup, and
simultaneously try to argue that they only confiscated guns from people
who were somehow not law-abiding; they'll probably claim any
confiscations were from people who threatened the police.
Remember that this is all after-the-fact whitewashing. We have them on tape.
UPDATE: We still don't know exactly what happened in that New Orleans courtroom. But thanks to this interview
with Alan Gottlieb of the 2nd Amendment Foundation, recorded just
before the injunction was issued, we can start to guess. In it,
Alan says that the judge is waiting for one thing: he wanted to see the
video clip himself.
So we can presume that the judge saw the denials from the Nagin and
Compass and wanted to see evidence that they were lying to him.
Reasonable, and since he later issued the injunction, it appears he was
In order to figure out what's going on, it's useful to summarize and paraphrase the confusing statements in the injunction:
Nagin states he has neither ordered the seizure of
lawfully-possessed firearms from law-abiding citizens, nor delegated
the authority to do so.
Compass acknowledges that he was not delegated the authority to
do so from Nagin, and any alleged statements from him to that effect do
not represent the policy of Nagin personally or the City of New Orleans.
Nagin and Compass deny that any seizures occurred.
Nagin and Compass deny that it is the policy or practice to seize
firearms from law-abiding citizens, either officially or unofficially.
So, can we figure out what is going on by finding a version of events
that is consistent with this statement and with the news reports we
I will start by taking a moment to point out that the ABC news video
does NOT name the police officer making the statement. It has
been attributed to Compass in print but not in the video
itself. Similarly, it's risky to take the claims of Nagin
and Compass in court at face value; their lawyers may well want to
concede nothing at all at this early stage, especially if they don't
see any way to defend their actions legally. So with that in
mind, here's what I deduce from the injunction:
First, Nagin is hanging Compass out to dry. Nagin claims he did
not delegate any authority and Compass affirms that. Nagin will
blame his underlings, deny having anything to do with it, and get away
with it unless there's something written down or on tape with his name
Second, Compass acknowledges that he was not delegated any authority to
order confiscations from the Mayor, and that any statements attributed
to him to that effect do not represent the policy of Nagin or the City
of New Orleans.
Third, Nagin and Compass deny that any seizures took place. This should probably be read to mean that they do not admit to knowing
any seizures took place. If they can't sustain that denial they
can claim that they thought their seizures were lawful and still be
within the bounds of this statement. If they can't sustain that
they may be able to claim that out-of-state officers and National Guard
troops conducted the seizures without orders. They may be preparing to claim that people disobeying
mandatory evacuation orders are not law-abiding citizens. They may
also be preparing to pass the buck downwards.
Fourth, Nagin and Compass deny that seizing firearms from law-abiding
citizens is the policy of the City of New Orleans. The only way
this makes any sense at all when combined with the video we have is if
the video is not Compass
talking, or if the context of the video has a lot more information than
we're seeing. I can't rule out either possibility, although the
man in the video does look like Compass (compare with other images of Compass).
Overall, though, it's clear that Nagin doesn't want to defend the
confiscations and is hanging his subordinate out to dry (whether
deserved or not). Compass may be sincerely denying any knowledge,
or more likely, his lawyers are conceding nothing as part of their
defense strategy. Either way, he's not saying that no
seizures took place; he's saying that no illegal seizures took place.
This is not a real denial that confiscations took place; it's ass-covering.
UPDATE: I was able to obtain the full court order from Clayton
Cramer. There are two interesting points from the material he did
not quote. First, there is a simple declaration that the
injunction does not contravene any presently-declared state of
emergency within the state. This might have the effect of
rendering it powerless, if there is in fact a (purportedly) legal power
to confiscate firearms during a state of emergency. Second, and
potentially much more serious, the order requires the defendents to
return confiscated firearms upon the presentation of identification and a receipt.
Although the situation is obviously still very chaotic, in all the
reports I have read or seen, only one mentioned receipts. That
report indicated that receipts were not being given.
I can't imagine that the NRA/SAF lawyers would have overlooked
that. Either their plaintiff has a receipt, or the judge wasn't
listening to the part about not giving out receipts.