Survey Says Most Louisiana Voters Opposed to Constitutional Carry

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Lousiana voters may have given Republicans their approval last November, electing Jeff Landry as governor and giving the GOP a supermajority in both chambers, but according to a new survey from the Times-Picayune/Advocate newspapers the state's electorate isn't sold on Constitutional Carry, which was the first bill that Landry signed after taking office. 


The poll, which was conducted among 800 registered voters, found broad support for Republican efforts to crack down on violent criminals, but widespread opposition to the law allowing legal gun owners to carry without a concealed carry license, which is set to take effect on July 4th. 

Overall, 50% of those polled approved of Landry's handling of crime, compared to 27% who disapproved.

But that didn't extend to the concealed-carry question, the poll shows. Among those who favor permits: slightly over half of Republicans, almost two-thirds of independents and nearly three in four Democrats. Voters described as “rock-solid Trump Republicans” show the strongest support for the new permitless carry law; just 43% of them favor permits, compared to 64% of “less-reliable Trump Republicans.” 

Women support permits at a 70% clip, compared to 55% for men.

This doesn't exactly surprise me. Most folks don't choose to exercise their right to bear arms regardless of what the law is, so supporting a requirement that gun owners possess a carry license if they're carrying in public may seem more reasonable to them. Democrats and their allies in the media have also done a bang-up job of scaring the bejeebers out of Louisianans over the prospect of permitless carry, and that's no doubt had an impact on public support. 

Kevin Williams, 67, a retired federal bank regulator who is also Black, fears the worst without permits, particularly in New Orleans, where he lives.

“I think it’s going to have a dramatic increase in shootings and murders and mass killings and everything down here,” Williams said. “Young people are irresponsible in terms of handling weapons. 

Williams, a Democrat, argued that “maybe the politicians aren’t doing what the people want. They’re trying to please the new governor, and he’s moving too fast with all these changes.”


Here's the thing: Louisiana lawmakers have been trying to pass Constitutional Carry since at least 2021, when then-Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a permitless carry bill. This has been a topic of conversation for several years, and Landry made no secret of his support for Constitutional Carry on the campaign trail. A majority of the state's voters may be opposed to the idea, but it hasn't been a dealbreaker when it comes to their support for the GOP, and I doubt it will be in the future either. 

We saw a similar dynamic play out in Texas in 2022. The year before, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Constitutional Carry into law, while polls suggested that a majority of voters were opposed. When Abbott ran for re-election against Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rouke, however, he handily won re-election with 54.76% of the vote. That was down slightly from the 55.8% he received in 2018, but hardly evidence that Constitutional Carry is election-year poison for pro-2A politicians. In fact, Republicans gained a seat in both the Texas House and Senate the year after they adopted a permitless carry measure. 

While Bayou State Democrats may be encouraged by this poll, in other words, they shouldn't get their hopes up that it's going to return them to power. I doubt this is the top issue for most Louisianans, and there are still plenty of voters who agree that concealed carry licenses shouldn't be a requirement before exercising a fundamental civil right. 


Shreveport youth pastor Ryan Petree, a Republican who is White, was in the minority on the gun question, saying he’s “fine with the law as is, with no permit needed.”

Petree, 32, didn’t grow up around guns in Tennessee, and “it’s not like I’m advocating for my own right. I have one 9mm handgun my father bought me. I keep it in a safe,” he said. “I’m just coming from common sense. If somebody is going to kill somebody, they’ve already decided they are going to break a law.”

The argument that 18 is too young to carry around a concealed gun without a permit doesn’t wash with Petree. “If they can’t think straight enough to hold a gun, why can they think straight enough to join the military or vote?” he asked.

Petree's argument makes sense, and after Constitutional Carry has been in place for a few months this is likely to be a non-issue for most voters. We have yet to see a serious attempt to repeal permitless carry in any of the other 28 states that have adopted the measure (though one Alabama Republican is giving it a shot), in large part because the law doesn't lead to anarchy in the streets or a return to the wild, wild, West. The poll in Louisiana is capturing a fear of the unknown in addition to outright hostility towards Constitutional Carry, but once the law takes effect and the sky doesn't fall those concerns are likely to subside. In the meantime, lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill need to keep explaining what will and won't change come July 4th; dispelling fear with the facts, and reminding Louisianans that no other right needs a government-issued permission slip before it can be exercised.   


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