BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Legislature is making a new push to allow people to conceal carry firearms without training or a permit. Lawmakers and law enforcement are at odds on the issue.
Continuing with the theme of bills making a return, Rep. Danny McCormick brought back his bill that would allow people 18 years old and older to conceal carry a firearm without a permit. An amendment was tacked on to raise that age to 21.
Rep. McCormick pointed to Louisiana as already an open carry state – and believes people should be able to conceal carry without a permit as well. He also believes the cost of the training and permits are a hardship for low-income firearm owners.
He talked about his seven-year-old granddaughter who can use a gun. But said she would not be able to conceal a gun to protect herself when she is older.
“This state tells her when she’s 18 she cannot put a pistol in her purse to protect herself from a murderer and a rapist. We need to give some thought to the victims,” Rep. McCormick said.
Other representatives and law enforcement agencies from the metro areas are concerned with the bill. They point to the nine-hour training required for the permit to be critical in preventing undue harm. They are already dealing with high numbers of shootings, many of them by men in their teens or early 20s.
“We start talking about protecting citizens, we have to remember that stray bullet that hits the wrong person because that person is not trained,” Rep. C. Denise Marcelle said.
The Executive Director of the Chiefs of Police said he is against the bill and the State Police Superintendent said he had some major worries about the risk it could give to officers.
“We take great care in making sure that we provide them not only the knowledge they need to conceal carry but also we give them the skillset so they can do so in a fashion that they’re not harming themselves, not harming their families, harming someone they do not intend to harm,” Col. Lamar Davis said.
Lawmakers were more against the bill when it allowed 18-year-olds to conceal carry. The amendment by Rep. Marcelle was added on despite objections by McCormick.
Last year a similar bill made it all the way up to the governor’s desk and he vetoed it. There was an attempt to override that veto but they ended up not taking that vote. So it’s not clear how far this legislation is going to make it this year.
The amended bill passed the committee with a vote of 10-3. A similar bill is also working through the legislature on the Senate side.