The Right to Bear Arms and the Abominable Snowman: How Six Inches of Snow Swallowed a Fundamental Right

BY Joshua J. Styles

Hurricane Katrina brought unparalleled devastation to the Gulf Coast of the United States. In the wake of the storm, lawlessness descended upon the city of New Orleans. Looters ravaged the city, and innumerable reports of arsons, carjackings, rapes, and shootings overwhelmed local authorities. Law enforcement officers were simply incapable of responding to many of the calls; indeed, some officers completely abandoned their posts. In response to all these heinous crimes, local police and the National Guard worked together to disarm the entire civilian population of New Orleans, including law-abiding citizens who kept to themselves and took no part in the looting. The story of Patricia Konie demonstrates the indiscriminate nature of these confiscations. Ms. Konie was a petite, fifty-eight-year-old woman who kept a revolver for protection following the storm. Konie desired to weather the storm in her own home, which was unaffected by the floodwaters. Nevertheless, when she explained to officers that she wanted to stay and that she had a revolver for self-defense, the officers “slammed her to the ground, fracturing her shoulder, and took her into custody.” Unlike Konie, most of New Orleans’ residents were compelled to flee their homes because of rising floodwaters and increasing lawlessness. Like Konie, however, law enforcement officials and National Guard troops confiscated the firearms of individuals who were attempting to flee the city. Consequently, law-abiding citizens were rendered utterly defenseless against the hosts of marauding bands who plundered the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

DOWNLOAD PDF | 90 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 84 (2012)

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