Louisiana Moves Closer To Constitutional Carry

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee advanced state Senate Bill 1 (SB1), marking a significant step toward establishing permitless concealed carry in the state. This legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Blake Miquez (R), represents a pivotal shift in Louisiana’s approach to the Second Amendment and self-defense rights.

SB1 advanced with a 6-1 vote in committee, strengthening the state’s legislative effort to align Louisiana with the 27 other states where constitutional carry is already in effect. If passed, this bill would enable law-abiding adults aged 18 and over to carry a concealed firearm without government-issued permits, a move that Sen. Miquez argues is essential in combating rampant crime and enhancing the personal safety of Louisiana’s residents.

The legislation’s advancement comes during a special legislative session addressing crime and law enforcement issues. This session, called by newly-elected Gov. Jeff Landry (R), has been marked by a series of anti-crime bills swiftly passing through various stages of the legislative process. Gov. Landry, who has pledged a tough stance on crime, has vocally supported the constitutional carry bill, breaking with his predecessor’s stance that saw similar bills vetoed in past sessions.

Critics of the bill, such as New Orleans Police Deputy Superintendent Lawrence Dupree, argue for maintaining a licensing system to ensure public safety standards, such as background checks and firearm safety training. However, proponents, including Sen. Miquez and other Republican lawmakers, contend that the bill merely levels the playing field for law-abiding citizens, arguing that criminals do not adhere to permit regulations anyway.

The bill’s journey is far from over as it moves to the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee for further review. Yet, the momentum appears to be in favor of constitutional carry, especially with the backing of influential groups like the NRA-ILA and the clear support from the state’s Republican leadership.

Louisiana’s SB1 is part of a broader national conversation about the balance between gun rights and public safety. As neighboring states have adopted similar laws, Louisiana’s lawmakers are keen to follow suit, asserting that bureaucratic hurdles should not hinder the right to self-defense.

While the bill facilitates permitless carry, it does not alter the existing criteria for who is eligible to possess a firearm. Furthermore, the bill does not affect the current permitting system for those who wish to carry concealed firearms across state lines or for other lawful purposes.