As though Katrina's homeless didn't have enough to worry about

| Wed Oct. 12, 2005 10:57 PM EDT

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office asked that firearms be banned from the new FEMA trailer park in Baker, Louisiana. The request was made because the trailer walls are thin, and it is estimated that a discharged bullet could go through several trailers. The request wasn't necessary, however; it has been a FEMA policy for years to ban firearms at FEMA facilities such as the one in Baker.

However, threatened with a lawsuit by the National Rife Association, FEMA is now considering reversing its policy and allowing residents to have guns.

The park houses almost 600 trailers, and the final population is expected to be around 2,000. Transportation and postal service are expected to be added, as well as security. Though it is understandable that people who legally own guns do not want to be told they cannot take them to their temporary homes, in a stress-filled environment such as the Baker park, it is easy to understand why both the federal and local governments want to get firearms out of the picture.

Evacuees from other storms who have lived in FEMA trailer parks have complained about constant loud fighting among bored adolescents, and some have said they were afraid to go outside at night. Given the very close quarters, the anger over loss of homes and jobs, and the shock of being in a cramped new environment, the introduction of firearms sounds like an accident--or maybe something worse--waiting to happen.