Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has already said he plans on vetoing a Constitutional Carry bill if it gets to his desk, but the Republican-dominated legislature appears undeterred by the threat. On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a permitless carry bill that would remove the need for legal gun owners to possess a carry license before they could bear arms in self-defense, with even some Democrats backing the change to state law.
The 73-28 vote in the House is large enough to override a veto by Edwards, but the outcome of a potential override vote in the Senate is still uncertain. The Senate has already passed its own version of a Constitutional Carry bill by a vote of 27-11, and if all 27 senators stick to their guns (no pun intended), the legislature could indeed bypass the governor’s objections. If a single senator switches their vote, however, the Constitutional Carry bill would die.
Of course, this is putting the cart before the horse at the moment. The House and Senate bills still need to be reconciled and both chambers will need to vote again on a final version of the Constitutional Carry bill. With the razor-thin margins for a veto override, gun control activists are already launching an assault on the legislation, including a recent column by New Orleans resident James Gill accusing the state legislature of not being able to shoot straight on 2A bills.
If concealed carry permits were no longer required, goofballs with no idea how to handle that gun hidden under their clothes will inevitably take to the streets. Proponents deny that public safety will be affected, but law enforcement, which speaks with some authority, disagrees. State Police and the Baton Rouge Police Department testified against the bill.
Passions always run high in legislative hearings about guns, which often stray from the point, as citizens giving evidence grow understandably flustered. On this occasion, for instance, an opponent of permitless carry assured believers that “suicide by gun is almost always fatal.” That’s hard to dispute whether or not you think that the Lord wants Smith and Wesson to prosper.
If you’ve seen New Orleans’ crime rate recently, you know that the state’s concealed carry laws are no impediment to goofballs with no idea of how to handle a gun “taking to the streets” while they’re armed in violation of state law. After three straight years of declining homicide rates, the city saw a 60% increase in the number of murders reported in 2020, and the crime spike has continued this year as well.
Violent crime across New Orleans is up 23% compared to this time last year, New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson says.
“We continue to see our challenges in homicide, shootings, as well as armed robberies,” says Chief Ferguson.
Shooting incidents alone are up 50%. Over the weekend, five people were shot on Bourbon Street.
Armed robberies are up 15%. Homicides are up 27%, officials say.
Legal gun owners aren’t driving the violence in New Orleans now, and they won’t be the issue if the state does adopt permitless carry legislation going forward. In fact, by removing the crime of carrying without a license from the statutes, law enforcement will be able to concentrate their efforts on preventing violent crimes, rather than arresting individuals for non-violent, possessory gun offenses.
It’s too early to declare victory in Louisiana, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. I’d encourage every gun owner in the Bayou state to contact their representatives and senators to urge them to do the right thing and back Constitutional Carry, even if that means bucking the governor and overriding his veto if and when a permitless carry bill gets to his desk.