Louisiana AG: French Quarter 'Faux-Tech' Doesn't Circumvent Constitutional Carry Law

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

When New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced a few days ago that the city had found a way to exempt much of the city's French Quarter from the Constitutional Carry law that's set to take effect tomorrow, I noted that her plan might not hold up to legal scrutiny. Now Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill is giving her take on Cantrell's attempted end-run around state law, and is warning the city that its actions are illegal. 


Cantrell wants to designate a NOPD precinct in the French Quarter as a vo-tech school, which would mean that permitless carry would be prohibited within 1,000 feet of the building. Murrill, however, says the city can't just "unilaterally" label police substations as educational facilities

"I’m working hard to help keep New Orleans safe, but the City cannot avoid state law by unilaterally designating police stations ‘vo-tech locations,'” Murrill's statement said. “You cannot just ‘designate’ yourself a vo-tech school."

She added: "Among other implications, if it was one (it’s not) the police department would be under the jurisdiction of a board of supervisors for higher education, and it would be subject to other oversight requirements."

Murrill said she has “no specific plan” but warned that the city would open itself up to civil rights lawsuits if it arrests people based on the designation, which she called "clearly not legal or effective.”

"I certainly hope the NOPD isn’t violating people’s rights by making up their own rules, which is why the Department is under a federal consent decree," Murril. said. 

Cantrell hasn't commented on Murrill's smackdown, but New Orleans City Council member Helena Moreno is doubling down, telling the Times-Picayune that "We are eager to demonstrate to the AG the beneficial impact of this additional training site for our law enforcement officers", adding that the city has "taken many diligent steps to meet criteria and believe this school will be a positive approach for additional training and educational opportunities for our NOPD."


The precinct in the French Quarter could host classroom sessions for NOPD officers every day of the week, but that still doesn't make it a vocational-technical school. As Murrill pointed out, under Louisiana law vo-techs fall under the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges, and there's no sign that the city has even attempted to seek board approval for a vo-tech  in the French Quarter. 

Vo-tech's are also open to the public. Anyone who wants to take a class can apply for admission, fork over their tuition fees, and attend class. That doesn't sound like that's the case for the "school" that Cantrell has announced. Instead, only NOPD officers are able to attend any courses that are offered in the building. 

New Orleans isn't opening a new vo-tech. It's more accurate to call it a "faux-tech"; a fake school attended exclusively by police and established solely to prevent folks from being able to exercise their rights under state law. As Murrill says, if the city tries to enforce the mayor's edict it's certain to invite a lawsuit by any lawful gun owner who is arrested for carrying without a permit within 1,000 feet of the precinct. At this point, I'm almost hoping that the city does try to enforce its "permitless-carry-free-zone" (the city's move does nothing to prevent those with active concealed carry licenses from carrying in the Quarter), because the legal smackdown that would ensue would be glorious to see.


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