Connect with us

U.S. News

Louisiana bill allowing gun owners to carry concealed firearms without permit advances



MONROE, La. – Louisiana gun owners could carry concealed firearms without training or a permit under a bill advanced by a Senate committee Monday with a similar measure on deck in the House.

Supporters of Senate Bill 118 by Sen. Jay Morris, R-Monroe, testified the current law requiring training and permits to carry a concealed firearm are infringements on their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“We shouldn’t need the government’s permission to defend ourselves,” said Chris Patron with Firearm Professionals of Louisiana.

Members of the Senate Judiciary C Committee vote 3-2 to report the bill favorably to the full Senate.

Twenty states currently allow what’s known as “constitutional carry” by supporters, which means gun owners can carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Gun owners in Louisiana can legally carry guns without permits if they are visible.

“The mood for constitutional carry is gaining momentum,” Morris said. “This step is not that great a step forward.”

Morris emphasized that gun owners could still choose to secure concealed carry permits, which can allow for Louisianans to cross state borders where concealed carry is legal, if the bill becomes law.

Only those with permits could carry concealed weapons into restaurants serving alcohol or within 1,000 feet of schools. Permits also allow those who have them to forego background checks when buying guns.

But opponents like those representing the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police warned that allowing concealed carry without permits elevates the potential of illegal gun violence or accidental shootings.

“Think about Bourbon Street … with 21-year-olds all packing underneath their clothes,” said Fabian Blache, executive director of the police chiefs association. “If anybody can (conceal carry) they’re going to be popping off in a heartbeat. Those kids who’ll be able to put one under they’re clothing … I think it’s going to create more shootings.”

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, who testified in opposition, noted the heightened tension in America between citizens and law enforcement following a string of high-profile killings of unarmed suspects at the hands of police officers.

“There’s a tinderbox going on in America,” Paul said. “The timing for this isn’t good.”

But Dan Zelenka, president of the Louisiana Shooting Association, testified gun violence hasn’t increased in states where laws allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit.