BATON ROUGE, La. (July 21, 2021) – Pressured by law enforcement, Louisiana Senators caved and failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’s veto of a “Constitutional Carry” bill that would have made it legal for Louisianans to carry a concealed firearm without a license and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Sen. Jay Morris (R-West Monroe) introduced Senate Bill 118 (SB118) on March 30. The proposed change in the law would allow Louisiana residents 21 and over who are not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Under the proposed law, the state would continue issuing conceal carry permits for residents who want to carry in other states that have CCDW reciprocity with Louisiana.
The Democrat governor’s veto of the bill wasn’t surprising, but the Senate’s failure to override it was pretty shocking. The Republican-dominated Senate initially passed SB118 by a vote of 27-9. The veto override failed by a 23-15 margin, three votes short of the 26 necessary to overturn the veto.
Republicans Sen. Louie Bernard, Sen. Patrick Connick, and Sen. Franklin Foil flip-flopped and voted no on the veto override after initially voting to pass SB118. Republican Sen. Ronnie Johns was absent for the vote. The lone Democrat to change his vote was Sen. Gary Smith.
“Their betrayal of gun owners speaks VOLUMES, as they only voted ‘pro-gun’ earlier in the session when their votes didn’t matter. Gun owners will remember this backstab at the ballot box,” Gun Owners of America said in a statement.
Police opposition to permitless carry put pressure on senators to sustain the veto. According to 4WWL TV in New Orleans, “Dozens of officers, police chiefs, sheriffs and deputies called on lawmakers to not override the veto and to keep current concealed carry requirements in place.”
At least one senator was influenced by police opposition to permitless carry. According to 4WWL, Sen. Connick said he spoke with law enforcement in his area that were in opposition to overturning the veto.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing SB118 would lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.