Wisconsin legislators want to thwart the power of the governor and local officials to seize people’s guns during emergencies, saying that authority could trample the rights of citizens, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lawmakers took action after seeing New Orleans police officers take guns from people during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Republican-run Assembly passed the bill this month on a bipartisan 84-13 vote, and the Democratic-led Senate is likely to do the same soon.
Twenty-one other states, including Louisiana, have passed similar laws since Hurricane Katrina, says the National Rifle Association, which backs the law. The NRA has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, reports the Associated Press. The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that it filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley. The group says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren’t part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. An NRA lawyer said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them.