By: José Niño
On May 16, 2023, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee in the Louisiana State House held its “Gun Day,” where various pro-Second Amendment bills were passed out of committee.
Of note was the passage of HB 131, Louisiana’s Constitutional Carry bill. Such legislation, which is sponsored by State Representative Danny McCormick, would allow all lawful Louisiana residents above the age of 18 to carry firearms for the purpose of self-defense. HB 131 was passed in the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee on May 16 by an 8-1 vote margin.
The full House later passed this bill on May 23 by a vote of 71 to 29, a veto-proof margin. The bill is currently in the Senate for consideration.
Back in 2021, Constitutional Carry was passed in the Louisiana State Legislature. However, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed the legislation on June 4, 2021. Pro-gun forces could not muster enough votes to override Edwards’ veto, which led to Constitutional Carry’s demise that year.
However, this time around Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, 71-33 in the State House and 27-12 in the State Senate respectively. On paper, such legislation should pass in 2023. Though we shouldn’t forget that Republicans can’t always be trusted to advance pro-gun legislation. In light of this, pro-gun activists must place considerable pressure on Louisiana elected officials to ensure that they get in line and pull the lever for commonsense pro-gun reform.
Should Louisiana pass Constitutional Carry, it will join the following states in having this law on the books:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
At 26th place in Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings, Louisiana is a state that still needs to work on its gun laws. Passing Constitutional Carry will go a long way in improving the state’s pro-gun profile. Now, it’s up to grassroots activists to turn up the heat and make sure their elected officials do the right thing by pulling the lever in favor of Constitutional Carry.