Under pressure from the National Rifle Association, New Orleans police this week began returning guns confiscated after Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reports. As of Wednesday, only 17 of about 700 weapons had been returned. Police and soldiers removed guns from houses after the storm, and confiscated guns from some evacuees. The NRA and other groups sued the city, saying it took away people’s means of protection. “Natural disasters may destroy great cities, but they do not destroy civil rights,” said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, which joined the NRA. The lawsuit was dropped after the city agreed to return the guns.
Some owners complained it was difficult to get their weapons back. Gun owners must bring a bill of sale or an affidavit with the weapon’s serial number. Police are running criminal background checks on those claiming weapons.