The Louisiana House of Representatives voted 70 to 29 to send a so-called “Constitutional Carry” bill to the Senate on May 23.
Louisiana Shooting Association (LSA) president Dan Zelenska is taking a wait-and-see attitude on the bill’s future.
“Time is its biggest enemy,” Zelenska told The Epoch Times.
HB 131, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Danny McCormick, would allow anyone 18 and older who can legally own a firearm to carry a gun concealed.
“This restores the Second Amendment in Louisiana,” McCormick said as he introduced the bill on the House Floor.
McCormick said he had pushed the legislation since 2020 because he finds asking the government’s permission to exercise a constitutional right insulting.
“There is nothing more unjust than making a citizen pay for a right they already have,” he said.
Republican Rep. Debbie Villio offered an amendment to raise the age to carry from 18 to 21. She said she didn’t believe most 18-year-olds are mature enough to carry a weapon. Other representatives agreed, citing the prevalence of gun crime among young males in New Orleans and other places.
McCormick agreed that crime is a problem. But he said selectively denying law-abiding 18-year-olds their rights would not solve the crime problem. He pointed out that 18-year-olds can vote and serve in the military. He said they are even prosecuted as adults when charged with serious crimes.
18-Year-Olds Can CarryThe bill passed without Villio’s amendment. Villio also offered an amendment that placed the same restrictions on where a firearm could be carried on those carrying without a permit as those with a concealed carry license. She said the amendment was meant to eliminate the possibility of confusion between the two laws.
The House adopted that amendment.
This is the fourth time McCormick has sponsored the bill.
According to Zelenska, permitless carry has enjoyed widespread support, but it is reportedly opposed by law enforcement. The bill has been vetoed or died in the legislature yearly since 2020. Zelenska said it could face the same fate this go round.
He pointed out that the legislative session ends on June 8. If senators take their time on other bills, letting the clock run out would be easy. On the other hand, Zelenska said, this is an election year.
“They may just want to dump it on the governor,” he said.
In 2022, the bill made it to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk, where it was vetoed. Zelenska said three Republicans who supported the measure changed course, removing the majority needed to override the governor’s veto.
If the bill is signed into law, Louisiana will become the 28th state to allow permitless carry.