Haughton lawmaker pushes bill supporting armed officers in diners

Lawmaker pushes gun law for police

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Representative Henry Burns from Haughton believes that under a current Louisiana statute, every time a police officer takes a lunch in a restaurant that serves alcohol, they're breaking the law.

The current law is R.S. 14.95.5 and Burns says it unfairly targets police officers. He's filed a bill to change it. 

And the law points out that an "Alcoholic beverage outlet" is any place that serves alcohol whether or not such sales are a primary or incidental purpose of the business of the establishment.

Burns filed House Bill 48 - A sort of clarification to the existing law, that he believes will make sure police officers are allowed to carry their guns into some restaurants while having lunch, or even when they're off duty.

"If he's out in the public and even when he's in his off duty time, people still identify that individual as a law enforcement officer," said Burns.

The current law states that no person shall intentionally possess a firearm on the premises of an alcoholic beverage outlet.

But the bill also states "The provisions of this section shall not apply to a law enforcement officer ...acting in the performance of his official duties. Some interpret the law to mean if a police officer is "on duty", then they're free to carry their guns into these places.

Burns and proponents of his bill argue that if a police officer is on lunch or they're in the restaurant after their shift, they're not technically in the performance of their official duties.

Michael Carter with the Shreveport Police Union supports Burns' bill, calling the current law flawed, and even conflicting.

"The current law [disarms] sworn police officers who are sworn to act," said Carter.

The bill goes before a committee next Wednesday for a vote. The last time Burns proposed this legislation it failed. He says he hopes for more support this time.

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