Louisiana legislative committee advances permitless carry gun bill

While the right to bear arms is clearly laid out in US Constitution, some argue it’s not clear where the line in the sand around that right is drawn.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 11:10 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With no Democrats present, the Louisiana House Criminal Justice Committee advanced a controversial bill to allow any adult to carry a concealed handgun without a license.

House Bill 131, sponsored by Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, was approved on a 8-1 vote, with committee Chair Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna, being the sole member opposed. The committee was unable to finish its business when it initially convened Tuesday morning, reconvening at 7 p.m. after the House adjourned.

McCormick’s bill is similar to one he advanced last year, which stalled in the Senate in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. This is the fourth time he has offered the proposal.

McCormick’s legislation, which he referred to as a “constitutional carry” bill, is based on a conservative position that the U.S. Constitution allows a firearm to be carried without a permit. It would eliminate all training and background check requirements to carry a concealed weapon in Louisiana.

The bill was opposed by a long list of progressive groups and several groups representing law enforcement, including the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police.

Rep. Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, also pushed back on some of the bill’s provisions but still supported the bill. A former prosecutor, she raised concerns with the bill lowering the age to concealed carry to 18 as well the elimination of training requirements.

“I don’t think it’s that burdensome,” Villio said of the training requirements.

McCormick agreed with her assessment but argued that citizens would still take responsibility for their own training in the absence of a government mandate.

“We should trust people with their rights,” McCormick said.

The bill will next go to the House floor for debate.

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