Louisiana Governor Declares Emergency Over Shortage of Cops As Lawmakers Eye Constitutional Carry

G. Andrew Boyd/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP

As legislators return to Baton Rouge today for a special session on crime and public safety, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has declared a state of emergency in the Sportsmen's Paradise over the declining number of law enforcement in the state; bolstering the argument that residents need to be able to protect and defend themselves from violent criminals without having to first obtain a permission slip from their local sheriff before they can bear arms in public. 


Landry, who was elected governor last November after serving two terms as the state's Attorney General, isn't pulling a Grisham with his emergency declaration and trying to suspend the right to carry in New Orleans or other major cities where violent crime is stubbornly high. Instead, he issued an executive order that's mean to help bolster efforts to hire more officers and sheriffs deputies. 

Landry, who previously had a career in law enforcement, said that police departments in the state are experiencing record-low employments “resulting in increased crime and less public safety.” As of July, sheriff's offices statewide were down 1,800 deputies, Landry said.

“We applaud Governor Landry for highlighting the importance of the law enforcement profession and our state’s desperate need to fill valuable front line deputy positions,” Michael Ranatza, executive director of Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, said in a written statement Friday.

... Landry's order removes restrictions that state law places on hiring and payroll for a period of time following a gubernatorial election. Landry was elected last year and took office in January. 

The "executive order, and the upcoming crime special session, will ensure our law enforcement officers are supported and we can begin to bring law and order back to our state,” Landry said.

Proposed bills that have been filed ahead of the session include legislation to expand methods to carry out death row executions, restrict parole eligibility, add harsher penalties for some crimes and publicize some juvenile court records.


There are two dozen bills set to be debated during the special session, which runs through March 6, and while most of them are aimed at violent offenders, the Constitutional Carry legislation set to be introduced in the House and Senate would make it easier for lawful gun owners to protect themselves from the growing number of carjackers, armed robbers, and home invaders in the state. Those are the bills that Second Amendment supporters will be watching most intently, but there are a number of other measures that are also worth supporting.

Among legislation pending in the upper chamber is Senate Bill 1, by New Iberia Republican Sen. Blake Miguez to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. There’s also Senate Bill 3, by Turkey Creek Republican Sen. Heather Cloud, to lower the age for consideration as a juvenile in the criminal justice system to 17, reversing reforms implemented under Gov. John Bel Edwards. Monroe Republican Sen. Stewart Cathey’s Senate Bill 11 also addresses the threshold for juvenile justice.

Cathey also prefiled Senate Bill 10 to reduce good time earned by prisoners sentenced for the death of a peace officer or first responder.

Other Senate measures include efforts to increase penalties for carjacking from Sen. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs. Another would create an office of public defender from Sen. Mike Reese, R-Leesville.

A bill from Sen. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge would increase penalties for DWIs while another is intended to boost transparency in the justice system from Many Republican Sen. Alan Seabaugh.


I'm glad to see that Republicans aren't just adding more penalties to some violent crimes like carjackings, but are also looking to improve the state's criminal justice system. Louisiana already has a "Public Defender Board," but Reese's legislation would shutter that board and create an executive branch Office of the Public Defender that will hopefully allow for a more robust platoon of public defenders around the state to help cases move through the court system. Since the COVID pandemic in 2020, there's been a growing number of criminal cases across the U.S. that have had to be dismissed because of a lack of public defenders, so it's important that the state not only increase the number of cops on the street, but attorneys in courtrooms who are willing and able to defend those who can't afford to hire an attorney. 

Still, Constitutional Carry is by far the most important bill that will be considered during the special session, at least from the perspective of an individual's ability to defend themselves, and this should be the year that the state finally adopts the measure. In 2021 lawmakers approved a similar bill with a veto-proof majority, but after then-Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the legislation several lawmakers flipped their votes during the veto override session and killed the bill. Since then. Rep. Danny McCormick has repeatedly tried to get the measure across the legislative finish line, but was stymied by Edwards' opposition. Landry ran for governor on a platform that included support for Constitutional Carry, so with him on board and Republican supermajorities, Constitutional Carry should have a much smoother path to the governor's office this year. 


Of course, given the implosion of Constitutional Carry in South Carolina, gun owners in Louisiana shouldn't take passage for granted. I'd hate to see partisan squabbling derail the bill in Baton Rouge like we've seen in the Palmetto State, but until the legislation has been adopted, engrossed, and sent to Landry for his signature, Second Amendment advocates need to stay engaged and involved to ensure that Louisiana becomes the 28th state to allow for concealed carry without a government-issued permission slip. 

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