Constitutional Carry on the Agenda for Louisiana Special Session on Public Safety – Bearing Arms

Constitutional Carry on the Agenda for Louisiana Special Session on Public Safety – Bearing Arms

Louisiana lawmakers will return to the state capitol in Baton Rouge on Monday for a special session on crime and public safety, and a Constitutional Carry bill is expected to be one of the major bills advanced by Republican lawmakers. 

Rep. Danny McCormick has unsuccessfully tried to get a Constitutional Carry bill enacted into law for several years now, but even when a veto-proof majority approved his legislation in 2021, the measure ultimately failed after then-Gov. John Bel Edwards shot down the bill and a few key supporters in the state Senate flipped their position during a veto override vote. 

With Republican Gov. Jeff Landry now at the helm of the ship of state, supporters don’t have to worry about securing a veto-proof majority. Landry ran for governor on a platform that included support for the measure, and this year it looks like the bill has enough support in both the House and Senate to quickly be approved during the special session that kicks off next week. 

The House and Senate both have bills addressing constitutional carry, the right for any law-abiding citizen over 18 to own and carry a concealed gun without a permit. State Sen. Blake Miguez authored legislation to lower the age restriction to owning a firearm and remove concealed carry permits. He says removing restrictions to access guns puts people on an even playing field with criminals.

“We’re competing now to be the 28th state to pass constitutional carry,” Miguez said.

Should the bill pass, it would also remove the requirement to document gun owners’ fingerprints. State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle says that stipulation would hurt police investigations. 

“Look at the people who are doing the shootings like at [Joel Olsteen’s church], like [at the] Kansas City parade [Wednesday],” Marcelle said, referencing recent shootings. “When you have people start carrying weapons, I believe that hinders law enforcement. If you don’t see it, you’re not going to know that until they pull it out.”

People are already carrying in Louisiana. The House and Senate bills authored by McCormick and Miguez would simply remove the mandate that lawful gun owners obtain a permission slip from the state before they can exercise their right to carry. The bills would also recognize the rights of adults younger than 21 to bear arms in self-defense; another change that the Democratic minority will undoubtedly find fault with, but a provision that’s more in line with the national tradition of keeping and bearing arms than a law that declares our Second Amendment rights don’t kick in until we’re 21. 

Democratic lawmakers like Rep. Mandie Landry say they’re opposed to the legislation, but even they recognize that the bills are likely to finally be enacted into law

“We’ve fought it off for the last four years with the help, actually, of sheriff’s and law enforcement, which is an interesting duo, but I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do it this year,” Rep. Landry said. “I don’t know if the sheriff’s and the chiefs of police will be able to hold a coalition together like they have over the last few years.”

Rep. Landry says there’s an outside chance some Republicans could vote against it, but she believes that’s unlikely.

“They might lose a couple of Republicans who are not Second Amendment-friendly, I guess you could say, but I think it should pass,” Rep. Landry said.

Here’s hoping. After watching South Carolina Republicans stupidly bicker over the particulars of their own Constitutional Carry proposals, however, there’s no guarantee that a Constitutional Carry bill will get to Gov. Landry’s desk, even if Republicans in both chambers say they’re supportive of the idea. Louisiana gun owners need to remind their representatives and senators of the importance of this legislation once the special session is underway, as well as urge them to avoid the infighting that’s plagued Constitutional Carry in the Palmetto State. 

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