BATON ROUGE, La. (May 24, 2023) – Yesterday, the Louisiana House passed a bill that would legalize the permitless concealed carry of handguns 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 and 18 other cosponsors filed House Bill 131 (HB131) on March 17. The legislation would allow Louisiana residents 18 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.
Louisiana already allows the open carrying of firearms without a permit by individuals 21 and over.
Despite law enforcement opposition from the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, the House passed HB131 by a 71-29 vote.
A similar measure passed the House in 2022 but stalled in the Senate. In 2021, then-governor John Bel Edwards vetoed a permitless carry 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 HB131 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.
HB131 will now move to the Senate for further consideration. Once it is assigned to a committee, it must get a hearing and pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
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