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New Orleans Residents Arming Themselves

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 22WRF, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Sixty-four-year-old Vivian Westerman rode out Hurricane Katrina in her 19th-century house. So terrible was the experience that she wanted two things before the 2006 season arrived: a backup power source and a gun.

    "I got a 6,000-watt generator and the cutest little Smith & Wesson, snub-nose .38 you ever saw," she boasted. "I've never been more confident."

    People across New Orleans are arming themselves - not only against the possibility of another storm bringing anarchy, but against the violence that has engulfed the metropolitan area in the 19 months since Katrina, making New Orleans the nation's murder capital.

    The number of permits issued to carry concealed weapons is running twice as high as it was before Katrina - this, in a city with only about half its pre-storm population of around 450,000. Attendance at firearms classes and hours logged at shooting ranges also are up, according to the gun industry.

    Gun dealers who saw sales shoot up during the chaotic few months after Katrina say that sales are still brisk, and that the customers are a cross-section of the population - doctors, lawyers, bankers, artists, laborers, stay-at-home moms.

    "People are in fear of their lives. They're looking for ways to feel safe again," said Mike Roniger, manager of Gretna Gunworks in Jefferson Parish.

    Citizens, the tourism industry, police and politicians officials have been alarmed by the wave of killings in New Orleans, with 162 in 2006 and 37 so far this year. A Tulane University study put the city's 2006 homicide rate at 96 slayings per 100,000 people, the highest in the nation.

    National Guardsmen and state police are patrolling the streets of New Orleans. In neighboring Jefferson Parish, which posted a record 66 homicides in 2006, the sheriff sent armored vehicles to protect high-crime neighborhoods.

    In New Orleans, police have accused the district attorney of failing to prosecute many suspects. Prosecutors have accused the police of not bringing them solid cases.

    Some people are losing faith in the system to protect them.

    Earnest Johnson, a 37-year-old chef who lives in Kenner, bought his first gun recently and visits a shooting range regularly. "Things are way worse than they used to be," he said. "You have to do something to protect yourself."

    Kevin Cato, a 41-year-old contractor, bought a .45-caliber handgun for protection when he is working in some of the city's still-deserted areas. "But it's not much safer at home," Cato said. "The police chased a guy through my yard one time with their guns out."

    In New Orleans, the number of concealed-carry permits issued jumped from 432 in 2003-04 to 832 in 2005-06. In Jefferson Parish, 522 permits were issued in 2003-04, and 1,362 in 2005-06.

    Mike Mayer, owner of Jefferson Indoor Range and Gun Outlet in suburban Metairie, said that despite the dropoff in population, sales are up about 38 percent overall since Katrina.

    Just how many guns are out there is anybody's guess. Gun buyers in Louisiana are not required to register their weapon or obtain a concealed-carry permit if they keep the gun in their house or car.

    In a measure of how dangerous New Orleans is becoming, guns are finding their way into criminal hands at an alarming rate. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives'"time-to-crime" analysis of the interval between the legal sale of a gun and the time it is seized in a crime investigation is five years on average around the nation, said ATF spokesman Austin Banks. In New Orleans, time-to-crime is six months, he said.

    This sometimes happens because of "straw purchases," in which a buyer obtains a gun for someone not legally eligible to purchase one. Many guns also are stolen from homes and cars.

    While many are buying guns for protection, only two defensive killings of criminals by civilians took place in New Orleans in 2006, according to police. No charges were filed against the shooters.

    Westerman, an artist who lives in the city's Algiers neighborhood, is prepared to use deadly force.

    "I'm a marksman now. I know what I'm doing," she said. "There are a lot of us. The girl next door is a crack shot."
  2. charagrin

    charagrin Former Guest

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    Thats good,they need guns if crime is that bad.
  3. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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    This should say something like, The people are finally seeing that it's there own responsibilty to protect themselves, not the 'system'.

    Char, I'm really wondering about you. What do you mean when you say "if crime is that bad"?

    To me it seems like it would be easy for you to conclude that, if crime isn't that bad they don't weapons to protect themselves. Or just rely on the 'system' to protect them, when it never has been the systems job to do so.

    Thanks for the article 22
  4. johnston3407

    johnston3407 New Member

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    Char, we don't NEED guns if crimisn't "that bad"? I live 65 miles from N.O. and I don't like to go there but when I do, I'm packin! Been that way for years before the STORM.
  5. charagrin

    charagrin Former Guest

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    What I meant was if killing and rape, beatings, And the like is going on. Judging by your comments you would shoot a 12 year old for stealing some candy. There are crimes, And then there are crimes.-Char
  6. stetson

    stetson New Member

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    Crime up everywhere because of drugs and people who try to take
    get property the easy way by stealing it!People are arming fighting back
    by arming themselves.I not going to be a victim anymore!
  7. lohki13

    lohki13 Former Guest

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    Most crime is up because illegal aliens.
  8. skeeter1

    skeeter1 New Member

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    More power to them. They are, after all, protected by the same Constitution as all of the rest of us. If they were to be denied the Right to KBA, then we'd all be up the creek without a paddle.
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    its ironic how the times seem to regress every now and then. If things keep going the way they are going, we will have the good citizens forming lynch mobs and bounty brigades once again....

    "he who does not punish evil... commands it to be done"
    leonardo da vinci
  10. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    So what will happen next time when thugs with badges try to take their guns???
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