BATON ROUGE, La. (April 24, 2022) – On Wednesday, the Louisiana House passed a bill to legalize permitless carry in the state. The enactment of a so-called “constitutional carry” bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.

Rep. Danny McCormick (R) introduced House Bill 37 (HB37) on Feb. 1. The legislation would allow adults 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.

On April 20, the House passed HB37 by a 65-26 vote.

A similar bill (SB143) is pending in the Senate. It was scheduled for a vote on Tuesday as well but was “returned to the calendar.” It’s likely the Senate will take up the House bill instead of passing a separate bill that would need to go back to the House for approval.

The Louisiana legislature passed permitless carry last year with supermajorities in both the House and the Senate. But several Republicans caved to law enforcement pressure and the Senate failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’s veto.

According to The Daily Advertiser, law enforcement opposition hasn’t gone away. Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Fabian Blache called it a “very dangerous bill.”

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 “constitutional carry” lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourage a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB37 will move to the Senate for further consideration. At the time of this report, it had not been referred to a Senate committee. Once it receives a committee assignment, it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.