So far this year we’ve seen Constitutional Carry bills signed into law in Utah, Montana, Iowa, and Tennessee, and lawmakers in several other states are still working to get similar bills passed before their legislative sessions adjourn. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says, however, that even if the Republicans in control of the statehouse in Baton Rouge do send him a permitless carry bill, he’ll be wielding his veto pen as a sword to kill the measure.
The Democratic governor defended the current permitting process as appropriate to require several hours of training on safety and marksmanship and to provide gun owners with information about how they should interact with police if they carry a concealed weapon.
“All of that it seems to me is proper. That’s the right balance to strike. And I feel very strongly about that. I also feel very strongly that a considerable majority of the people in Louisiana support the system we currently have,” Edwards said when asked about the proposal.
I’m not opposed to firearms training by any means, and in fact I don’t know of any gun owner who rejects the idea those who carry guns should know how to do so safely and responsibly. That’s not the issue here. The issue is whether or not someone should face a prison sentence and a criminal record for carrying a gun that they lawfully possess simply because they don’t have a government-issued permission slip.
Gene Lock owns Ron’s Guns and believes passing this bill can keep some people out of jail.
“The law-abiding citizens don’t carry if they don’t have a permit, but if they had a constitutional carry they would carry without fear of being convicted of a felony and without all the hassle that comes along with being charged and having to defend against it,” he said.
According to the National Rifle Association, only 16 states allow legal gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Actually, we’re up to 20 states now, and I wouldn’t throw the word “only” in front of that, considering that just eight states still maintain discretionary “may-issue” laws that require carry applicants to demonstrate good cause or a “justifiable need” in order to receive permission to carry a firearm outside of their home. And just like the other states that have adopted Constitutional Carry, if Louisiana’s legislation were to actually take effect, it wouldn’t scrap the current concealed carry licensing process. It would simply end the requirement that legal gun owners possess a license before they can carry. Many gun owners would choose to maintain their concealed carry license so they could carry in other states that recognize Louisiana’s license, but few media outlets bother to report that salient fact.
Instead, they’d rather give air time to anti-gun activists who are convinced that Constitutional Carry would turn the state into an apocalyptic hellhole.
Laura Devitt is a part of the New Orleans Chapter of Moms Demand Action, an organization striving for more safety measures to stop gun violence. She believes the bill would create more crime.“We have seen this in other states that have gone to permitless carry. For example, Alaska was one of the first states in 2003 to pass permitless carry, and they saw an increase by 65 percent of aggravated assault by gun,” she said.
Yeah, and Colorado had a 29% increase in murder last year, without Constitutional Carry being on the books (though the state does have universal background checks, a red flag law, and a ban on “large capacity” magazines). Interestingly enough, Anchorage, Alaska actually saw its murder rate drop by nearly 50% last year, while homicides in Denver were the highest since 1981. Why, it’s almost like violent criminals don’t care if they’re legally carrying a gun any more than they care about wantonly taking human life or property at the point of a gun.
While the GOP does control the state legislature in Louisiana, it’s still a couple of seats shy of a veto-proof majority in the state House, which means that supporters of Constitutional Carry need to convince a couple of rural Democrats to buck their party’s boss and vote in favor of the bill when it comes up for a vote. At the moment, we’re still waiting on the full Senate to vote on SB 118, and gun owners should be contacting their state Senators, both Republicans and Democrats alike, and urging them to support this piece of common sense civil rights legislation.