New Orleans City Officials Demand 'Gun-Free Zones' After Shooting

Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP

New Orleans police are still looking for suspects after a shooting on Sunday night outside a nightclub left one person dead and eleven others injured. Authorities haven't said what sparked the shooting, but the lack of information hasn't stopped local politicians from spouting off and demanding an anti-gun response from lawmakers in Baton Rouge.


Members of the city council, along with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Police Commissioner Anne Kirkpatrick, are calling on the legislature to carve out multiple "gun-free zones" in the city, while also taking aim at the Constitutional Carry bill signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry last month.

Kirkpatrick said she'd prefer to cut out the entire city of New Orleans from the law. Failing that, she said she favored a carveout for "hospitality zones" that could include the French Quarter, Warehouse District, Superdome area, Carrollton Avenue to the river, and City Council districts B and C.

"We should never have had a legislative bill that passed for even permit-less carry," Kirkpatrick said as Cantrell quietly voiced assent. Kirkpatrick said the new law "not only puts us going backwards, but also endangers every law enforcement officer out here because knowing you're carrying doesn't give us the opportunity to check you out."

Which is the way it should be. We have a right to keep and bear arms in this country, and exercising that right, in and of itself, is not evidence that a crime is being committed. I'm sure that Kilpatrick's job would be a lot easier if she and the rest of the New Orleans police didn't have to worry about violating someone's First, Second, Fourth, or Fifth Amendment rights, but thankfully we don't live in a police state. 


The concealed carry bill, which Gov. Jeff Landry signed in March, was approved during a special session on crime in February. In a post on X, Landry wrote about the shooting that he and his wife are "praying for the victims and their families in this tragedy. We appreciate the first responders for their hard work. This type of violence has no place in our State."

State Sen. Blake Miguez, R-Lafayette, who sponsored the permitless carry bill, has rebuffed calls for carveouts. He did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, but has said in the past that he worries that "the only people that have guns in gun-free zones are the criminals."

Miguez is right. Turning downtown New Orleans into a gigantic "gun-free zone" would not only violate the Second Amendment rights of residents and visitors. It would create an even more target-rich environment for criminals to operate, free from any concern that their intended victim might be able to fight back. 

New Orleans already has a major staffing problem with its police force. There are currently about 900 officers, but the city could use 500 more. Given those paltry numbers, Kilpatrick should be focused on targeted deterrence strategies that go after the most prolific offenders in the city. Instead, she and other officials want to cast a wide net over virtually anyone and everyone who's bearing arms in New Orleans; wasting precious law enforcement resources on the law-abiding and curtailing a fundamental civil right in the process. The city may be struggling to curb violent crime, but turning into one big "gun-free zone" isn't the answer. 


Join the conversation as a VIP Member