NRA Chief: Big Easy Hard on Guns

Unnamed photo
Alina A Hooper

NRA President Sandra S. Froman speaks about the illegality of a gun-ban in light of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster at HLS yesterday.

National Rifle Association (NRA) President Sandra S. Froman returned to her alma mater last night to lash out at New Orleans’ response to post-Hurricane Katrina security.

Speaking at Harvard Law School, Froman—who received her Harvard JD in 1974—criticized New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s decision to confiscate guns from residents immediately following the natural disaster, and she said the New Orleans government demonstrated that it was “profoundly incompetent” through its response.

“The violations of due process are so egregious that it should make your blood boil,” Froman said to the audience of just over 30 people.

Froman, who is the second female president of the NRA, noted that the NRA filed suit against Nagin and was able to secure an injunction stopping the confiscations.

“[These people] hadn’t done anything wrong, and they were being told to give up their guns at a time when the government couldn’t protect them,” Froman said.

She added that the city took guns from the residents without issuing receipts and that “shining on the misdeeds” that happened in places like New Orleans was an effective way of mobilizing gun supporters to fight for Second Amendment rights.

Froman also took time to criticize the D.C. Gun Ban—a longstanding ban on handguns in the nation’s capital—calling it one of the “most draconian laws” in the country.

“If anything in the world can possibly violate the Second Amendment, then surely the D.C. Gun Ban can,” she said.

During the question-and-answer session, Froman said that private arms could serve as a safety net if the government was incapable of providing security to its citizens, as she said occurred in New Orleans.

“If the government isn’t protecting you, then it’s an insurance policy,” she said, drawing a connection between guns and fire extinguishers.

“You need to have a fire extinguisher, you need to have it pressurized, and you need to know how to use it,” she added.

When Law School student James B. Tarter asked Fromar if she was concerned that the courts would ask her to define what the Second Amendment’s reference to “arms” meant, Fromar responded, “Those are the questions that are less fundamental than whether you or I can possess weapons.”

—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at kzhou@fas.harvard.edu.