Senate fails to override veto of bill allowing concealed guns without permit

Some senators changed positions on Tuesday

By: - July 20, 2021 1:49 pm
Lawmakers override veto of concealed carry bill

File photo. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator).

In an unprecedented veto-override session Tuesday, the Louisiana Senate failed to override the governor’s veto of a bill that allows residents to carry concealed guns without any permits or training — a policy referred to as “constitutional carry.” 

Senate Bill 118, sponsored by Sen. Jay Morris (R-West Monroe), received overwhelming support in the Senate with a vote of 23-15 — but less than the required two-thirds for an override.

The legislation would have provided an exception to the criminal statute of illegal carrying of weapons and amended Louisiana’s concealed carry permit law by repealing the requirement that residents pass a nine-hour course with live-fire training and apply for the permit in order to carry a concealed gun. 

The law would have applied to anyone 21 and older with no felony convictions or other such restrictions.

Gov. John Bel Edwards — who ran on a pro-gun platform — said polling indicates the majority of Louisiana residents don’t want people to be able to carry a concealed gun without training. Edwards also said that numerous law enforcement leaders in the state are opposed to the bill. The governor is the son and brother of sheriffs and has a close relationship with the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association. 

The bill was popular with lawmakers though and followed a trend of state legislatures across the country who pushed similar bills with the backing of gun-rights lobby groups such as the National Rifle Association and their state-level affiliates such as the Louisiana Shooting Association.

It’s not clear whether the Senate and House get one vote for an override — or multiple votes over the scheduled five-day session.  

During its initial passage in June, the House voted for it 73-28 and the Senate voted for it 27-9 — above the required two-thirds. Republicans and a handful of Democrats in both chambers supported the legislation, but some of those Senators changed their positions on Tuesday. Those included Sen. Gary Smith (D-Norco), Sen. Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Sen. Louie Bernard (R-Natchitoches), Sen. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Greg Tarver (D-Shreveport).

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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