State senate passes concealed carry bill

By T. Scott Boatright

The Louisiana Senate voted Tuesday to end the requirement for people to need to have and carry a concealed handgun in the state.

Now the proposal has been sent to the state House for debate on what is expected to be a near party-line vote.

If made into law, the legislation would end Louisiana’s current requirement that gun owners who carry concealed weapons need a permit that requires them to take several hours of training on gun safety and pay a fee to the Louisiana State Police.

Permits would still be available to those who want to get one, including as needed to carry concealed weapons in other states that maintain reciprocity agreements with Louisiana.

Louisiana Gov. Joh Bel Edwards has voiced his opposition to the legislation — Senate Bill 118 — and should he do what he says he intends to do if it’s passed and veto it, Republicans don’t have enough members in the House to override the rejection without picking up support from Democrats or the chamber’s two members without party affiliation to reach the two-thirds vote by both the state House and Senate need to override a veto.

Senate Bill 118 as authored by Sen. Jay Morris (R-Monroe), who represents part of Lincoln Parish. Another senator who represents another part of Lincoln Parish — Jay Luneau (D-Alexandria) — voiced concerns during debate over the bill, asking why hunters are required to have training (Louisiana’s Hunter Safety Course), while if passed Morris’ bill would require no training for concealed carry.

“Our freedom and liberty should be exercised with a good dose of common sense, and that’s what we’re lacking here,” Luneau said.

The Senate voted 27-11 in favor of Senate Bill 118.

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