Bill to do away with concealed carry permits returns to La. State Capitol

While the right to bear arms is clearly laid out in US Constitution, some argue it’s not clear where the line in the sand around that right is drawn.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:01 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While the right to bear arms is clearly laid out in United States Constitution, some argue it is not clear where the line in the sand around that right is drawn.

Just like in years past, the right to conceal carry a handgun without the need for a permit from the Louisiana government is back on the table.

Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, said the right to do so is enshrined in the constitution. With the intention of making this a hot-button issue for the governor’s race, McCormick added he feels confident this year will go differently with a Republican supermajority in the legislature, giving HB131 a good chance at surviving any veto met by the governor.

Dan Zelenka, president of the Louisiana Shooting Association, is in favor of the idea but said it is not a done deal, given that it was three Republican senators who voted to kill the bill last year.

“Well, the Republicans would all have to stick together,” explained Zelenka. “The best state that I look at is actually Arizona because you have about 13 years of data and Arizona’s firearms crime has not changed.”

But the right to conceal carry without a permit is not the only proposal that is up for debate. Another bill by McCormick, HB299, looks to protect Louisiana from having to abide by any federal law or mandate that infringes on your Second Amendment.

“You know the ATF by a stroke of the pen made millions of Americans criminals, and it didn’t go through the legislative process in Washington,” said McCormick. “So, it’s our state’s responsibility to protect our citizens when the federal government overreaches their authority and that’s what it’s designed to do.”

Angelle Bradford is with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group of women who advocate for sound gun reform. She and her group are opposing both of these bills.

“Because we’ve seen when permitless carry passes in other states the outcomes lead to an increase in aggravated assault and violent crime,” said Bradford. “And so we don’t want to see that here in Louisiana. The bill deals with federal laws. That bill’s unconstitutional and so, it’s just ridiculous to pass it but it does open up law enforcement from potential lawsuits, which is not something we need to waste their time with when they have so much on their plate already.”

“It’s gonna be a heavy lift. I doubt if we get it out of committee but, hey, we gotta start the conversation,” admitted McCormick.

Getting these bills out of committee will be one thing, surviving a larger vote on the floor will be a whole new ball game.

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