After complaints from gun-rights groups, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is lifting a ban on firearms at temporary housing parks for Hurricane Katrina evacuees, the Associated Press reports. Under the new policy, residents can possess and store firearms. Use of weapons is still prohibited in the parks. Gun rights advocates had said that the ban violated Second Amendment protections for gun ownership.
FEMA said it has policy for several years to prohibit guns at such parksy. The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation said they learned of it only this month as a 600-trailer encampment opened near Baton Rouge. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said, “It is wrong to force citizens to give up their constitutional rights in order for them to get a needed federal benefit.” Col. Greg Phares, chief sheriff’s deputy in Baton Rouge, said, “We had asked for FEMA to say firearms would not be permitted on site, just as you can’t bring firearms into the federal building, into the Legislature in Baton Rouge, into an LSU football game.”