Louisiana's Constitutional Carry Law Isn't an Experiment

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Now that Louisiana's Constitutional Carry law has taken effect, there are officially 29 states where lawful gun owners can bear arms without the need for a government permission slip. At this point, permitless carry is the norm, not the exception, around the country. 


According to the editorial board of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, however, Louisianans are just guinea pigs in a Second Amendment "experiment". 

The toll of gun violence in Louisiana is stark. We see every day in the pages of this newspaper the pain and anguish of those who have lost loved ones. We grieve with the parents whose children were killed by a stray bullet. We mourn the women trying to escape domestic violence only to be shot dead by their abusers. We witness the slaughter of young men over senseless disputes in our streets all too often. The toll of violence touches all parts of our communities. 

It’s hard to imagine that permitless carry will make this state of affairs any better. In fact, law enforcement is already preparing for what they will now face. Officers in New Orleans are receiving training on how to operate in this new environment, though the city ordinance in effect will bar concealed carry without a permit until Aug. 1. 

It might be hard for the editors to imagine, but its not difficult to look at other states to see what happened in cities after they adopted their own permitless carry laws. Last year, for example, homicides in Atlanta fell by more than 20%, Oklahoma City recorded a double-digit decline in murders, and Miami had the fewest killings since at least 1947, to cite just a few examples.

The editors of the Times-Picayune can also take comfort in the fact that none of the other 28 states that have adopted Constitutional or permitless carry laws have seen any reason to repeal the statute. If Constitutional Carry was as problematic as the paper believers, wouldn't at least one of those states have repealed the law? Even in Maine, where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature and the governor's office, repeal of permitless carry was a non-starter this past session despite an overwhelming focus on adding more gun laws to the books. 


In Louisiana, we have become used to accepting the consequences of poor decisions made at the state Capitol. And while effects of this new law on our cities and towns is yet to be determined, one thing is certain: If we are tired of the violence, tired of burying our children, tired of not being heard, there’s only one way to change it. And that’s at the voting booth.

Louisianans did head to their local polling places last year, and they rejected the Democratic candidate for governor and most Democratic candidates for the state legislature as well. Gov. Jeff Landry won election outright in the state's "jungle" primary, where candidates from every party compete against one another. Typically, the Republican and Democratic candidates end up in a runoff, but Landry was able to avoid that by getting an outright majority in the first round of voting. Republicans also picked up an additional seat in the state Senate and two seats in the state House, adding to their veto-proof majorities. 

The GOP holds 28 of the 39 seats in the Senate and 73 of the 105 seats in the state House. That's an overwhelming majority, and it's not like these candidates were shy about their support for Constitutional Carry on the campaign trail. Landry was a vocal supporter of the measure, and vowed to sign a bill into law if he was elected. He was rewarded by the voters for his stance, not punished. 


I'm not surprised to see a liberal editorial board in a liberal city bemoan the enactment of Constitutional Carry. I get that New Orleans is a pretty violent place with a crime rate that's far too high. I just hope that in a few months, when it's become clear that the law hasn't made things exponentially worse, the Times-Picayune editors will be big enough to offer a mea culpa and admit that the new law isn't the invitation to anarchy they claimed it to be. 

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