We should learn this week whether or not lawmakers in Louisiana will return to Baton Rouge for a rare veto override session, but the conventional wisdom in the state seems to be leaning towards a session taking place. Gun control activists and their anti-gun political allies are certainly acting like the session is going to happen, because they’re fiercely lobbying legislators to reject a Constitutional Carry measure if and when the special session is gaveled in.
On Tuesday, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell joined mayors from around the state in opposition to a potential veto override of Gov. Edwards declination. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome of Baton Rouge, Mayor Adrian Perkins of Shreveport, Mayor Robert Billiot of Westwego, Mayor Cornell Dukes of New Roads and Mayor Lionel Johnson of St. Gabriel stand alongside Cantrell in urging the Louisiana legislature to uphold the veto.
Cantrell released a statement on behalf of the mayors decrying the permitless carry legislation, which would allow legal gun owners to lawfully carry a concealed firearm without the need for a government permission slip.
As leaders of Louisiana cities, large and small, we are asking the legislature to uphold Gov. Edwards’ veto of this dangerous legislation. No one is attempting to take away anyone’s Second Amendment rights, but instead, keep the current law in place to protect all of our citizens. Louisiana is the sportsman’s paradise and nothing will change that, but eliminating the requirement for citizens to be trained in firearms handling and obtain permits and receive training to carry concealed weapons puts the people we represent in danger and it will make it harder for law enforcement to keep us safe. Just last week, sheriffs and police chiefs from across the state came together to ask the legislature not to override this veto. We join them in that effort.
It’s already legal in Louisiana to openly carry a firearm without a license, so if Cantrell and these mayors are truly worried about a lack of training then it makes no sense for them to argue to keep the status quo in place. If they were consistent, they’d be demanding an end to open carry as well, but they’re not, which tells me that their objections are based more in politics than public safety.
It’s not like Louisiana would be treading uncharted territory by adopting Constitutional Carry. Already 21 states across the nation have approved similar laws, and none of them have gone back and repealed the measure because of disastrous consequences. Heck, in all of these states the concealed carry licensing process continues to exist, firearms instructors are still busy teaching classes, and there’s plenty of education and training taking place. It should also be noted that the violent crime rates in Constitutional Carry states like Arizona and West Virginia are far lower than the violent crime and homicide rate in Louisiana, which further suggests that changes to the state’s carry laws aren’t going to lead to an explosion of violence.
Louisiana definitely has a problem with violent crime, particularly in its largest cities. But that crime is driven by individuals who aren’t legally allowed to own firearms, much less carry them, and Constitutional Carry will have no impact on the ability of law enforcement to target violent criminals. Lawmakers should reject the knee-jerk and politically motivated calls to reject the permitless carry bill and forge ahead with their attempt to make Louisiana the 22nd Constitutional Carry state in the nation.