Louisiana To Become 28th Permitless Carry State

by Vern Evans

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Louisiana is set to become the 28th state in the nation to allow permitless concealed carry of handguns for its residents, following the final approval of Senate Bill 1 by the Louisiana House of Representatives late last week.

The bill, which passed with a 75-28 vote, grants legal gun owners aged 18 and older the ability to carry concealed firearms in public without the need for a permit. The landmark decision is poised to be signed into law by Governor Jeff Landry (R), who has vocally supported the measure, emphasizing that it aligns with the constitutional right to bear arms without government permission.

The bill’s advancement represents a significant victory for 2A proponents and freedom loving Louisianans, who have long championed the cause of unfettered carry in their state. Efforts in previous years, including a close attempt in 2021, were thwarted by veto from then-Governor John Bel Edwards (D) and internal legislative disagreements. However, with Governor Landry’s election in 2023 and a Republican trifecta established for the first time in eight years, the momentum shifted, allowing for another push toward enacting permitless carry.

Senator Blake Miguez (R), the primary sponsor of the bill, hailed the House’s approval as a step toward enabling Louisianans to exercise what he considers a “God-given natural right,” suggesting that the measure will contribute to a reduction in crime.

Despite the overwhelming support for the bill in the state House, the bill had faced considerable opposition from various quarters, including some law enforcement and gun-control advocates. Critics, such as the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, argue that permitless carry will complicate police efforts to ensure public safety and could lead to an increase in gun violence, concerns that haven’t been borne out in the other states where permitless carry has been in practice for years. Some law enforcement organizations, including the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police, have also expressed apprehension the new law could undermine both officer and public safety by making it difficult to swiftly ascertain the legality of someone’s firearm possession. Again, there is no evidence of this occurring at any scale in state’s that have already approved permitless carry and where that is the law.

The bill’s detractors also highlight concerns over the lack of mandatory training and background checks for concealed carry, pointing out that current laws requiring permits ensure that gun owners have undergone essential education on the safe and lawful use of firearms. However, the Second Amendment, does not stipulate a requirement for mandatory training or background checks.

The new law, once signed, is set to take effect on July 4th as a symbolic gesture toward American independence, maintains provisions for individuals to obtain permits voluntarily, primarily for the purpose of interstate reciprocity. It explicitly excludes those with felony convictions or who would otherwise fail a background check from legally carrying concealed firearms.

As Louisiana prepares to join the ranks of states allowing permitless carry, the debate over the practice will no doubt continue. With the majority of states now endorsing some form of permitless carry, the future of such legislation in the remaining states remains uncertain, influenced by political, social, and economic factors unique to each region.

The Reload touched on this issue in their coverage of the passage of the Louisiana bill. Just how many more states might we see permitless carry approved in now or in the coming years?

The bill’s passage in Louisiana is emblematic of gun-rights advocates’ remarkable success in pushing for permitless carry across the nation at a rapid clip. Until 2010, just Alaska and Vermont allowed permitless concealed carry. Now a majority of states allow it.

At the same time, the policy is at or near its soft cap for further growth. There are few remaining states with the political conditions necessary for the policy to pass, namely sizeable Republican majorities and strong pro-gun constituencies. Just one other state, South Carolina, is seriously considering a permitless carry measure this year, and that effort appears to be stalled over infighting between the state’s House and Senate Republicans.

Like the vast majority of permitless carry regimes in the U.S., Louisiana’s bill does not entirely eliminate permits. It would continue to honor existing permits and offer new ones for purposes of interstate reciprocity. Additionally, as in other states, those with felony records or who would otherwise fail a background check to own a firearm cannot legally carry one under the bill.

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