New Orleans will return hundreds of firearms that police officers confiscated after Hurricane Katrina, part of a deal to resolve a lawsuit filed by gun lobbying groups, reports the Associated Press. The city and the Second Amendment Foundation are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to issue a permanent injunction barring the city from seizing lawfully possessed firearms. The police department has stored 552 guns that were confiscated after Katrina. Police said they only took guns that were stolen or found in abandoned homes.
To reclaim their weapons, gun owners must sign an affidavit claiming ownership of a gun but don’t need to present written proof, such as a sales receipt or serial number. A background check also is required to certify that someone claiming a gun can legally possess a firearm. In April 2006, police made 700 firearms available for owners to claim if they could present a bill of sale or an affidavit with the weapon’s serial number. Few people could present proof of ownership after Katrina, which flooded 80 percent of the city.