Louisiana House OKs carrying concealed firearms without a permit
Representative Danny McCormick speaks on the floor Tuesday, May 16, 2023, inside the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La. (Matthew Perschall for Louisiana Illuminator)
The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would allow adults to carry a concealed firearm without a license.
House Bill 131, sponsored by Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, was approved on a 70-29 vote. Several conservative Democrats supported the bill, while several moderate Republicans opposed it.
The bill is similar to one McCormick advanced last year, which stalled in the Senate in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. This is the fourth time he has offered the proposal.
McCormick’s legislation, which he referred to as a “constitutional carry” bill, is based on a conservative position that the U.S. Constitution allows a firearm to be carried without a permit. It would eliminate all training and background check requirements to carry a concealed weapon in Louisiana.
The House rejected an amendment Rep. Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, a former prosecutor, proposed that would have raised the age of those able to conceal carry without a license to from 18 to 21, the current age to carry concealed with a license. Of the 27 states that have permitless carry laws, 20 have a 21+ age requirement, Rep. Bryan Fontenot, R-Thibodaux, said.
McCormick opposed the amendment, claiming Villio’s amendment relegated adults under the age of 21 to an “illegal second-class citizenship.”
The amendment narrowly failed on a 48-52 vote.
The only people that the law will affect are law-abiding citizens because they want to follow the law. Criminals don’t care. Crazies don’t care.
– Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette
Several Democrats gave floor speeches in opposition to the bill.
“We cannot turn our state into the wild, wild west,” Rep. Ed Larvadain, D-Alexandria, said. “I’m sick of the guns. I’m concerned about no training.”
“We’ve got to put the guns down,” Larvadain added.
Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, began her comments by reminding lawmakers Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of the Uvalde shooting and called on her colleagues to address gun violence.
“That is what we’re talking about: Easier access to guns, children who have to be told they might be murdered in school,” Landry said. “We don’t have to do this. We can work on our gun safety legislation. We can work on secure schools.”
But several ultra-conservative lawmakers made comments in support of the bill.
“The only people that the law will affect are law-abiding citizens because they want to follow the law,” Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette said. “Criminals don’t care. Crazies don’t care.”
Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Houma, shared that her classmates carried guns to school when she was younger, arguing guns are not the issue that leads to school shootings.
The bill will next be heard in a Senate committee.
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