Louisiana House passes legislation allowing permitless carry of firearms

Louisiana House passes legislation allowing permitless carry of firearms

BATON ROUGE (AP)— Republican legislators approved legislation Thursday in a special session to fight violent crime, bringing Louisiana closer to joining states that allow concealed carry without a permit.

Legislators also approved a bill that would shield self-defense shooters from civil responsibility.

Both legislation passed the Senate on party lines and went to the GOP-controlled House, where they have a two-thirds supermajority. Governor Jeff Landry has said he will sign the laws if they reach his desk.

Louisiana's crime-focused special session begins.
Gun rights activists call the plan would enable individuals 18 and older to carry concealed pistols without a permit a "constitutional carry bill," arguing that present permitting regulations are unconstitutional. The prerequisites include fingerprinting and a charge.

“The Second Amendment is our God-given right to bear arms and defend our families,” said GOP state Sen. Blake Miguez, who drafted the concealed carry laws passed by his chamber. No more asking the government for permission to safeguard our property.”

Miguez and other Republicans claimed that criminals ignore gun laws and that law-abiding residents should be able to carry concealed firearms without permits for self-defense. Democrats worry the bill might increase gun violence and endanger public safety.

Lawmakers are debating several “tough-on-crime” proposals during their brief session. They include extending death row executions, tougher sentence, restricting parole for certain criminals, and forcing 17-year-olds charged with felonies to be prosecuted as adults.

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The U.S. Concealed Carry Association reports that 27 states, including Louisiana, allow concealed carry without a permit.

Gun violence in Louisiana is already high, but opponents of the law say it might get worse. The CDC reported 1,314 gun-related fatalities in the state in 2021, making it the second-highest in the nation. The number includes suicides and murders.

“This is by far one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation that's about to pass out of this building,” Democratic Sen. Royce Duplessis warned Thursday.

Duplessis highlighted a Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police letter opposing the measure. The letter states permits provide a “clear mechanism for tracking and regulating concealed firearms” and deleting them might “increase the likelihood of firearms ending up in the possession of those who pose a danger to themselves.”

Law enforcement also fears the law would worsen risky situations. Police groups and organizations have either given neutral or negative comments on the law.

Louisiana nearly passed a permitless concealed carry bill. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a GOP-passed law in 2021. This month's special session began with Landry telling lawmakers, “Now, you have a governor who will sign it.”

Legislation by Miguez would take effect July 4.

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