I’ve often called permitless carry, or constitutional carry, the “Holy Grail” of gun rights at the state level. Once a state passes that, they’ve probably passed as much pro-gun legislation as it’s possible for them to pass.
Now, that’s not universally true. Some permitless carry states still have places they can do some work, but it is a very good indication that there’s enough political will to do that work.
Permitless carry is, to put it plainly, the biggest measure a state can take with regard to expanding gun rights.
Now, Louisiana getting closer to taking that step.
Louisiana citizens may soon be able to carry concealed handguns without a permit after a bill passed through the House Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday.
Opponents of the bill, including a police chief and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for more education than the optional one-hour long course that the State Police will create.
“We’re not against concealed carry. We just believe it has to be supported with education and training,” said Mike Knaps of the Louisiana Chiefs Association of Police.
The bill, SB 118, written by Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, had nothing regarding training when it passed the Senate but was amended by the House committee to include the optional training. The bill now matches the goal of HB 596, written by Rep. Bryan Fontenot, R-Thibodaux, who sits on the committee. Fontenot’s bill is scheduled for a final vote in the House Thursday.
After lengthy testimony from opponents, Fontenot gave rapid-fire questions to Morris to detail their side of the argument, including that 20 other states have constitutional carry laws and crime has not risen after implementation. Also, Vermont has had constitutional carry since 1790 and is one of the safest states.
No doubt, opponents of the measure will point to the Louisiana Chiefs Association’s opposition and claim that they speak for law enforcement as a whole. That’s quite a leap since we know that chiefs are political appointees and their opinions don’t necessarily line up with the opinions of those officers who work for them.
Fontenot’s answers should dispel a lot of the anti-gun rhetoric surrounding permitless carry.
Then again, this is Louisiana. They may not need to dispel all that much.
With luck, Louisiana will be the 21st state to pass permitless carry, which is good news for the citizens.
However, let’s address the issue of training. It’s almost universally understood by the Second Amendment community that training is a good thing. We all advocate for people to get training however they can. There’s no such thing as being too trained when it comes to guns.
The thing is, when you mandate training, you’re telling people exactly what training to take and what form that training should take. Not only is it likely that the training class will be inferior to what the private sector offers–anything the government does is generally going to be worse than what private companies do–but it can also be easily manipulated to make it even more difficult for people to exercise their rights.
Besides, we don’t require training before people register to vote. We don’t require training before someone spouts their opinions on Facebook or Twitter. We don’t require training before anyone exercises any other constitutional right, so why this one?
I’m glad to see Louisiana lawmakers refusing to back down on this issue. The right to keep and bear arms is absolute, no matter what others may claim. That means requiring training makes no sense in that context.
Of course, not everyone understands that. I’m just glad enough legislators in that neck of the woods do.