By T. Scott Boatright
It could soon become legal for Louisiana residents 21 years old and older and not barred lawfully to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
Senate Bill 118, which a Senate committee advanced Monday in Baton Rouge, would allow anyone 21 years or older in Louisiana — if the person isn’t barred from having a firearm because of a violent crime conviction or some other legal prohibition — to carry a concealed handgun.
Current law requires a permit from the Louisiana State Police to carry a concealed firearm, with several hours of training, fingerprinting and a fee payment.
According to the Center Square of Louisiana, Sen. Jay Morris, a Monroe Republican who authored the bill, said the change would apply only to “law-abiding citizens.” Those opposing the bill says they are worried that letting untrained residents carry a concealed gun would be dangerous.
The bill advanced to the Senate floor with a 3-2 party-line vote. Voting for the bill were Republican Sens. Mark Abraham of Lake Charles, Beth Mizell of Franklinton and Rick Ward of Port Allen. Voting against the bill were Democrats Regina Barrow of Baton Rouge and Troy Carter of New Orleans.
Twenty other states don’t require a concealed carry permit according to Morris.
The Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police have opposed the proposed bill as a threat to public safety.
Should it be approved by the House and Senate, the bill would take effect Aug. 1.