TriggerFinger


Cramer has a copy of the NO injunction...


... 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 satisfied. 

In order to figure out what's going on, it's useful to summarize and paraphrase the confusing statements in the injunction:
  1. Nagin states he has neither ordered the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms from law-abiding citizens, nor delegated the authority to do so.
  2. 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.
  3. Nagin and Compass deny that any seizures occurred.
  4. 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 have seen?

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 attached.

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.

Following this one is going to be interesting.

UPDATE: The plot thickens.  This Houston Chronicle story quotes the NRA's Wayne LaPierre as saying "there were no receipts given."

UPDATE: According to Gun Law News the plaintiff already has his guns back.  No word on everyone else who wasn't specifically named in the NRA/SAF lawsuit.

This entry was published Sat Sep 24 18:04:33 CDT 2005 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2005-09-24 18:04:33.0. [Tweet]

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