Louisiana Gun Bill to Arm Teachers and Expand Concealed Carry: What’s Next
A bill to expand concealed carry gun rights that turned into a measure to arm teachers in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre never got a final hearing in the Louisiana Legislature, suspending the effort for another year.
Oil City Republican Rep. Danny McCormick said he believes the Senate deliberately missed time on House Bill 37 before putting it to a vote. The session ended on Monday.
“In my opinion, they turned it into a teacher deferral bill rather than a constitutional deferral bill so they could slow down and ultimately kill the bill,” McCormick said Thursday in a statement. interview with USA Today Network.
McCormick’s original bill would have removed current licensing and training requirements for carrying a concealed weapon. Proponents call it “constitutional porting” because they believe the Second Amendment already grants that right.
Louisiana is already what’s called an “open carry” state, which means people can carry visible firearms without a license or training.
McCormick’s measure easily cleared the House, but a Senate committee amended the bill to remove the concealed portion of the bill and replaced it with language allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in their schools and classrooms. classroom.
Republican Senator Gonzales Eddie Lambert proposed the amendment during the final days of the session.
“That better answers a question that’s on everyone’s mind – how do we get rid of a threat in schools as soon as possible,” Lambert said during the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs debate.
The bill was approved by the Senate committee, but was never scheduled for debate in the full Senate.
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Lawmakers passed a hidden deferral bill in 2021 that was nearly identical to McCormick’s original legislation, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the measure.
Edwards has generally been a reliable vote for the gun rights expansion bills, but he said he thinks the current law requiring in-person training and licensing “strikes the right balance.”
Opponents, such as those representing the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, have warned that allowing concealed carry without a license increases the potential for unlawful gun violence or accidental shootings.
But McCormick said expanding concealed carry “is not going to create chaos or turn us into a wild, wild West.
Twenty-five states have enacted similar laws on the expansion of concealed carry.
“I will bring the bill back every year until it passes,” he said. “My bill sends a clear message to people that we are not willing to compromise when it comes to their Second Amendment rights.”
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Louisiana Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.