I’m not a fan of local gun control. When communities enact their own restrictions on firearms, it creates an unnavigable labyrinth of regulations throughout a given state, one that’s impossible for the average person to keep up with. Something that’s perfectly legal in one place may be illegal just five feet away inside the city limits.
As such, I’m a strong supporter of preemption.
Unfortunately, many states have no such laws on the books, which creates problems.
In Louisiana, though, those problems are coming to an end.
New state laws will soon overturn Baton Rouge ordinances that ban guns in public recreational facilities, prohibit guns in places that sell alcohol, and give city leaders authority to stop gun sales during civil emergencies. And they will stop city leaders from passing new restrictions on guns in the future.
Some area leaders, like East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, have criticized those changes, saying it tramples local control of governments and makes it harder for the city to reduce gun violence. But others agree with the new law, arguing the city shouldn’t be restricting residents’ Second Amendment rights more than the state does.
The laws, which Gov. John Bel Edwards signed last week, will go into effect Aug. 1. One of the most obvious impacts is on rules banning concealed firearms in BREC parks, playgrounds and other facilities.
BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson said the parks system has no immediate plans to take down signage prohibiting firearms or changing its policies yet, even though the rules may not be legally enforceable.
“Hopefully everyone agrees that a park or playground is no place for guns,” Wilson said. “We’re in full support of the Second Amendment, but the standard across the industry is to prohibit them in parks and recreation centers.”
Unfortunately, not everyone does agree.
Criminals often use parks and playgrounds for whatever purpose. Plenty of innocent people have been shot at parks throughout the nation over the years. Yes, even in Baton Rouge. Clearly, those laws aren’t stopping criminals from carrying guns in the first place.
But they do stop law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms they could use to defend themselves.
It’s easy for Wilson to argue that his parks are no place for guns, but we on the right side of the law don’t get to make the rules. The criminals do that. We carry firearms to meet the threats that present themselves, no matter where that might happen. That includes parks in Baton Rouge.
Now, though, people can carry firearms lawfully in such places, even with the unlawful signs still in place.
However, Wilson needs to understand something. When you bow to “industry standards” instead of the rights of law-abiding citizens, you’re not in “full support” of anything except those industry standards. Now, if that’s how someone wants to roll, that’s on them. They’re welcome to do so. If the people in Baton Rouge don’t like it, they can take it up with Wilson’s superiors, but he’s welcome to his opinions, even if they’re wrong.
The problem is that he wants to make his opinions the rule that may lead to innocent lives being lost because they couldn’t defend themselves, and that, I have a huge problem with.
Luckily, he doesn’t get to make that call. The state has and Wilson has to deal with it going forward.