New Fad in New Orleans: Guns

Citizens arm themselves against crime wave
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2007 9:09 AM CDT
Vivian Westerman stands in a doorway of her home holding her new .38 revolver in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 13, 2007. Sixty-four-year-old Vivian Westerman rode out Hurricane Katrina in her 19th-century...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Violent crime is storming post-Katrina New Orleans with almost the force of the 2005 hurricane, Time reports. The city has America's highest murder rate, and weapons sales are skyrocketing as citizens take to arming themselves.  "They're not gun aficionados," a gun shop owner says of the recent surge in business. "They're just doing it because they feel they have to."

So far this year, 85 Big Easy residents have been granted concealed weapons permits—double the number for the same period in 2005, when the population was twice what it is today. In neighboring Jefferson Parish, applications for concealed weapons have risen 300%. Warfare among drug gangs accounts for much of the violence, but muggings and armed home invasions are common.