Louisiana Weighs “Permitless” Concealed-Carry Amendment

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posted on January 8, 2016
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Last year saw the deregulation of concealed carry—resulting in the removal of any requirement for a permit in order to carry a firearm, and often referred to as “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry”—in Kansas and Maine. Additionally, the legislature in New Hampshire passed a bill allowing the same, which was unfortunately vetoed by Gov. Maggie Hassan. West Virginia and Indiana have more recently seen bills drafted that would recognize “permitless” carry for their residents. 

What we witness here is a heartening trend as states across the nation recognize the value of dropping burdensome restrictions on law-abiding citizens. As the deregulation movement picks up steam, many are looking to the example of Vermont, which has never required a permit for open or concealed carry—and enjoys some of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. Vermont’s unique state constitution is the reason behind its longstanding deregulation of gun rights—such a constitutional safeguard is the best possible way to secure strong Second Amendment rights for future generations.

Louisiana Rep. Barry Ivey, R-65, is on a mission for his state to emulate Vermont even more closely than others. Not only is he seeking to drop the permit requirement for concealed carry in Louisiana by state statute, but he also wants to establish an amendment to the state constitution enshrining “permitless” concealed carry as the people’s right. Vermont’s unique state constitution is the reason behind its longstanding lack of carry regulations—such a constitutional safeguard is the best possible way to secure strong Second Amendment rights for future generations. This is the same reason why the Texas “Right to Hunt and Fish” amendment was such a necessity. 

State law in Louisiana already recognizes open carry without a permit in most areas (although it may be restricted by local governments in laws pre-dating July 1985). This has also been the case in other states that have recently considered deregulating concealed carry, such as Maine and New Hampshire. By letting concealed carriers play by the same rules, the state would protect their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights without making themselves targets. It is also worth mentioning that allowing concealed carry without a permit does not remove or even significantly deincentivize the permit system. Anyone wishing to utilize existing reciprocity agreements with other states will still need one. 

At the moment, Ivey’s bill to amend the Louisiana state constitution, HB4, is before the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice, where it will be reviewed before it can be heard on the House floor. If it does end up passing, the proposed constitutional amendment will bypass the governor’s desk and go up for a popular vote during the statewide election on November 8 of this year. The other bill written by Ivey that would deregulate concealed carry by state statute is labeled HB6. 

Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Louisiana already states that each individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms is fundamental. If approved by the legislature and the people of Louisiana, this amendment would add the following language: 

The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms includes the right to possess a concealed handgun without the necessity of obtaining a permit or license, unless the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm under the laws of Louisiana or the laws of the United States. 

It is too soon to know whether Louisiana HB4 will make it to the House floor, but NRA supporters living in the state can do their part to make sure that the committee (members of which are listed here) understands its importance. Regardless of the outcome, this legislation is to be celebrated for its commitment to the long future of gun rights in America. A law may secure a freedom for years; an amendment will likely secure it for generations to come.

Use Your Power!

Are you registered to vote in Louisiana? If so, please contact your representative and let them know that you support HB4—particularly if they sit on House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice. To locate your representative, click here.

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