BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - Gun legislation was shot down at the Louisiana Capitol on Tuesday. The proposed law would allow police officers to carry their guns into restaurants that serve alcohol. The author, Representative Henry Burns from Haughton, LA says it was meant to make the existing law more clear - and to make sure officers were never without their gun.
Burns believes his bill was voted down because it was changed. The amendment included allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry guns into bars. But mixing alcohol and guns made some legislators nervous.
"I don't think anyone in a drinking establishment should have guns on them," said Senator Greg Tarver from Shreveport.
Burns says all he wanted to do was rework the current law (LRS.14:95.5) so that it no longer unfairly targets police officers.
"I was given a startling statistic yesterday that there could be as many as 10,000 violations in a given day by law enforcement based on a law that's really inappropriate, I'm just trying to clean it up," said Burns.
His proposed law, HB 48 made it through the House of Representatives, then onto the Senate committee, where it was voted down.
"In addition to allowing police officers to maintain their weapon it also included conceal carry and of course there were people who had concerns on it," said Burns.
Tarver was on the committee that killed HB 48.
"Number one, if you look at the law a policeman can't really do that. But who enforces this?" asked Tarver. He went on to say people also break this law every day.
Tarver says without the conceal carry amendment, he would have voted for HB 48. And he could get his chance> Burns says he might re-introduce his legislation before the session ends.
Some opponents of HB 48 interpret the existing law differently, and believe officers can already lawfully carry their gun into a restaurant or bar. Others believe it expressly prohibits officers from carrying their guns into restaurant/bars, and even unfairly targets police officers.