Louisiana emergency powers infringe on your right to keep and bear arms

LA Politicians Should not Have “Authority” to Limit Gun Rights

A few days ago, New Orleans Mayor, Latoya Cantrell, grabbed the attention of the gun world when she declared a state of emergency for Orleans Parish. Through her emergency proclamation, the Mayor declared her authority “to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transporting of … firearms.”

A statement like this immediately brings back memories of Hurricane Katrina where, under the color of emergency powers, then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration began confiscating firearms from honest citizens.

Thankfully, a court order put a stop to this unconstitutional confiscation, and in 2006 a law was passed declaring that the state’s emergency powers do not include the power to confiscate or seize a lawfully-possessed firearm.

Now, 15 years later, another state of emergency has arisen, and again a New Orleans mayor is threatening to take action that would infringe on a law-abiding citizen’s ability to protect themselves and their family.

Unfortunately, this unconstitutional “authority” to infringe on your right to keep and bear arms is not limited to New Orleans, but is a statewide issue.

The language from Mayor Cantrell’s emergency proclamation is taken from the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (“Louisiana Emergency Act”), La. R.S. 29:721, et seq.

Under this act, the governor, parish presidents, and even local mayors are given the “authority” to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of firearms during an emergency.

Starting with Governor John Bel Edwards declaration of a public health emergency on March 11, 2020, numerous parishes and cities across Louisiana have declared states of emergency.

And while Mayor Cantrell’s emergency proclamation is the only one (that I have seen) that includes specific language regarding firearms, under the Louisiana Emergency Act, all executives (from the governor down to a city mayor) have the “authority” under Louisiana law to limit or stop the sale and transfer of firearms during a declared emergency.

(Under these emergency statutes, a person could be prohibited from even giving a gun to a family member. A father could be prohibited from giving his daughter a gun to protect herself!)

No actions have been taken yet to limit the sale, distribution, or transportation of firearms, but the mere ability for the government to do so under the guise of emergency authority is too dangerous to ignore.

It has been demonstrated time and time again in many different types of emergencies — from riots, to hurricanes, to city blackouts — that police do not have the resources to protect every individual citizen from harm, nor are they required to. (Federal courts have long held that police do not have a general duty to protect individuals from harm.)

During a time like this, where police and emergency services are likely to be stretched thin in many areas, it is imperative that you are able to protect yourself and your family.

There is a lot going on right now, a lot of uncertainty, but it is important to take action right away (see above)!

Urge your legislators and the Governor to pass legislation that will remove any “authority” of any government official at any level from limiting an honest citizen’s right to protect themselves or their family during a time of emergency.