Louisiana lawmakers gave final approval to Constitutional Carry legislation on Wednesday, less than two weeks after convening for a special session on crime and public safety. The state Senate signed off on SB 1 last week, and the House gave its stamp of approval in a 75-28 vote on Wednesday morning.
With Lousiana Gov. Jeff Landry in full support of the legislation, SB 1’s provisions should take effect on July 4th, giving Louisianans the freedom to lawfully carry a firearm for self-defense without the need for a government-issued permission slip, which Senate sponsor Blake Miguez has called a barrier to exercising our constitutionally-protected rights.
When asked how expanding concealed carry rights would reduce crime, Miguez said, “It fights crime by allowing innocent individuals to defend themselves, putting them on equal footing with vicious criminals.”
Supporters of the legislation refer to it as “constitutional carry” because they believe the Second Amendment already grants that right. Louisiana allows for constitutional carry now but requires a permit and training.
“It puts law-abiding citizens on equal footing with criminals,” Kelby Seanor of the National Rifle Association has said. “It removes the burden to exercise a constitutional right.”
That’s not exactly how I would have described the measure, but it is true that violent criminals aren’t typically waiting around to receive their concealed carry license before using a handgun in armed robberies or carjackings. But that doesn’t mean that criminals and law-abiding citizens will be on equal footing going forward. Those prohibited from possessing or carrying a firearm under state and federal law will still be subject to criminal charges if they’re caught with a gun after July 4th, just as they are today.
Despite that, anti-gun activists are already declaring that Constitutional Carry will make Louisiana a more dangerous place because of “mOrE gUnZ”.
“Louisiana lawmakers have chosen to make our beaches, restaurants, grocery stores, parks and everywhere else we go more vulnerable to gun violence, ” said Angelle Bradford, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, in a statement. “More guns will not make Louisianans any more free, in fact, it’ll only restrict freedom to go about their lives without fear of gun violence. ”
It’s funny; when Moms Demand Action wants to portray their agenda as “reasonable” their members always declare that they’re not opposed to gun ownership in general, but whenever a state adopts a pro-2A measure the mask comes off and they reveal that, actually, yes, they do take issue with anything that could lead to more people exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Louisiana will be the 28th state to adopt Constitutional Carry, and not a single one of the 27 where the law is already in place has seen fit to repeal the measure and once again require licenses before legal gun owners can bear arms. Despite that inconvenient fact, the gun control lobby’s talking points are the same as they were when Alaska kicked off the modern Constitutional Carry movement by approving its own permitless carry bill back in 2003. It took another seven years for Arizona to adopt the measure, but since then we’ve seen additional states pass Constitutional Carry bills almost every year.
There’s still a chance that Louisiana will have company in enshrining Constitutional Carry into law this year. South Carolina legislators held their first conference committee meeting yesterday to try to hammer out an agreement that both the House and Senate can live with after the House rejected several amendments approved by senators, and lawmakers on the committee sounded hopeful that they can reach an accord before the end of the regular session in mid-May.
Louisiana’s legislature has shown them the way, and gun owners in the Pelican State will have a little more to celebrate come Independence Day this year. Let’s hope that South Carolina lawmakers will follow suit, and we can add another state to growing roster of those that recognize our individual rights shouldn’t be subject to prior authorization on the part of the government.