Permitless concealed carry bill passes through Senate committee

BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, a Senate committee passed a bill with a 4-1 vote that allows permitless concealed carry for residents over 21.

Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, presented House Bill 131 to the Senate Judiciary committee. The bill had previously passed the House floor on May 23 with 71 representatives in favor and 29 against.

The Senate committee made amendments to the bill, changing the age requirement for carrying concealed firearms without a permit or training from 18 to 21.

Three Republicans and Sen. Gregory W. Tarver Sr., a Democrat from Shreveport, supported the bill, while Sen. Joseph Bouie Jr., D-New Orleans, voted against it.

The bill still needs approval of the full Louisiana Senate and Gov. John Bel Edwards signature before becoming law.

“House Bill 131 will restore the Second Amendment in Louisiana,” McCormick stated. “The Second Amendment declares that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Unfortunately, Louisiana has been infringing on that God-given right for too long, forcing law-abiding citizens to pay a tax and seek government permission.”

Supporters of the bill argue that it aligns with the Second Amendment and brings Louisiana in line with 26 other states that have similar constitutional carry laws.

Opponents of the bill contend that training and background checks required to obtain a concealed carry permit are necessary for responsible gun ownership in Louisiana.

Fabian Blache, Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Chief of Police, expressed concerns about the bill, stating, “Allowing anyone who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law to conceal a firearm increases the existing danger to the lives of our law enforcement officers. Legalizing concealed carry without education requirements or permits is misguided. Municipal police officers already face enough issues in their towns and cities with concerns about illegal carrying by individuals lacking firearm education. This only amplifies their safety concerns.”

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