Louisiana Legislators Poised to Make More Changes to Carry Laws – Bearing Arms

Louisiana Legislators Poised to Make More Changes to Carry Laws – Bearing Arms

The Constitutional Carry bill signed into law by Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry last week already promises a major improvement to the state’s carry laws when it takes effect on July 4th, but legislators in Baton Rouge aren’t done making changes now that the regular session is underway. 

On Tuesday, the Committee on Judiciary C approved several bills introduced by Sen. Blake Miguez, who was the chief sponsor of the Senate’s Constitutional Carry legislation. The first measure to win approval would expand the new Constitutional Carry law to cover the concealed carry of all firearms, not just pistols, so long as the owner was legally allowed to possess the gun in question. 

Another Miguez bill would allow concealed firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol — “places where families eat,” the senator said — as long as the businesses don’t make more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol sales. 

Bars would still be off limits for concealed weapons under the proposal, Miguez said. Plus, anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher, regardless of their location, would not be allowed to conceal-carry, as spelled out in the new law.   

The third Miguez bill would allow businesses to be penalized if they deny entry to an off-duty police officer carrying a concealed gun. The proposed fine could reach $1,000 per occurrence.

I had no idea that Louisiana currently banned concealed carry in restaurants where alcohol is served, but repealing that prohibition would be a major improvement to the status quo. Prohibiting people from carrying while they’re intoxicated is one thing, but demanding gun owners leave their firearms behind when they go out to eat is a dumb idea. I’d much rather have my pistol on my person when my wife and I dine out than leave it behind in my vehicle. That not only increases the risk of a gun being stolen, it leaves patrons completely unprotected if they need to defend themselves from a violent attack in a restaurant or (a more likely scenario) while they’re walking to or from their car. 

The committee also advanced several measures that are meant to crack down on criminals, but one of them is problematic from a Second Amendment standpoint. 

A proposal from Sen. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, to tighten state law with regards to convicted felons who carry concealed weapons also gained unanimous support. Tougher punishment would apply if an individual was carrying a firearm when they committed a violent crime and they went on to commit another crime, regardless of whether it involved a gun. The same would go for any felon caught with a gun when committing a subsequent offense.    

The committee also approved a bill that would take firearms away from certain teens who use guns during a violent crime. Sen. Caleb Kleinpeter, R-Port Allen, said the new restrictions would apply to 15- and 16-year-olds who wouldn’t be allowed to legally possess a firearm again until they turn 22. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, vetoed similar legislation last year.

Kleinpeter’s proposal originally included an exception for young licensed hunters, but he pulled that provision out of the bill before gaining committee approval.

Another proposal that advanced Tuesday calls for anyone who illegally brings a firearm to a parade to serve the bulk of their sentence. The bill from Sen. Greg Miller, R-Norco, would remove parole or probation for up to three years for anyone convicted of the crime, with a minimum of one year without the opportunity for early release from prison.

The ban on lawful concealed carry at parades is itself constitutionally suspect, and requiring a one-year prison sentence for merely possessing a firearm in a “gun-free zone” is a dangerous proposition, even if it’s well-intentioned. SB 132 may be meant as a tough-on-crime measure, but it stands to harm legal gun owners more than violent criminals. 

All of these bills are now headed to the Senate floor, and its incumbent on Louisiana gun owners to sound off on the measures to their state senators. SB 214, SB 152, and SB 233 deserve the backing of Second Amendment supporters, but SB 132 and its mandatory minimums for possessing a gun at a parade should be opposed by Louisiana’s 2A community. 

Originally Posted on: https://bearingarms.com/camedwards/2024/03/20/louisiana-legislators-poised-to-make-more-changes-to-carry-laws-n1224259
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