From The Times Picayune
Legislation that would prohibit local, parish or state police officers from seizing firearms from law-abiding citizens during a state of emergency sailed out of the Senate, 36-0, on Monday and headed back to the House for final approval of minor changes.
Senators approved House Bill 760 by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, with a change that would make the bill law as soon as Gov. Kathleen Blanco signs it, not Aug. 15 when most new laws from the session take effect.Blanco can sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without her signature.
Scalise's bill is a reaction to New Orleans area police agencies' seizure of weapons after a state of emergency was declared for Hurricane Katrina. The bill allows a police officer to disarm someone when the officer "reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection" of the law enforcement agent or someone else. If the police officer does not make an arrest or take the gun as part of a criminal investigation, it must be returned.
On a related matter, the House voted 99-0 for Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 by Sen. Edwin Murray, D-New Orleans, ordering the New Orleans Police Department and other law enforcement bodies in the area that seized weapons in the aftermath of Katrina to "develop and implement a plan" for returning the firearms. Scalise, who handled the Murray measure on the House floor, said that officials have started to return weapons but "the process is not working as well as it should."