The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to track down gun owners in New Orleans whose firearms were seized by city police after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, The Associated Press reports.
In court papers filed Monday as part of a federal lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim that New Orleans officials violated gun owners' constitutional rights in confiscating more than 1,000 guns that were not linked to any criminal cases.
About 700 of those guns were made available by police in 2006 to be reclaimed. However, only about 100 have been returned.
NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have located about 75 of 300 identified gun owners, and some of them could be called to testify in a trial set to begin Feb. 19. The NRA is asking for a delay in the trial because it has had a hard time finding the gun owners, many of whom may have fled or relocated after the Aug. 29, 2005 storm.
"That is really the guts of our case -- to establish that there was indeed a pattern of the police going out and taking people's guns without any legal reason to do so," Holliday said.