Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.
No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.
But that order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property. The guards, who are civilians working for private security firms like Blackwater, are openly carrying M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.
Nearly two weeks after the floods began, New Orleans has turned into an armed camp, patrolled by thousands of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers. While armed looters roamed unchecked last week, the city is now calm. No arrests were made on Wednesday night or this morning, and police received only 10 calls for service, a police spokesman said.
The city's slow recovery is continuing on other fronts as well, local officials said at a press conference late this morning. Pumping stations are now operating across much of the city, and many taps and fire hydrants have water pressure. Also, tests have shown no evidence of cholera or other dangerous diseases in flooded areas, though health officials have said the waters contain levels of E. coli bacteria and lead 10 times higher than what is considered safe.
We happen to be fans of the Second Amendment. We can't be any other way, given our love for the First, Fourth, Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Nineteenth amendments.