Miguel Discart - Flickr

Louisiana Embraces Gun Rights

LA joins 27 other states in making constitutional carry the law of the land.

Louisiana is set to become the 28th state to implement a constitutional carry law allowing citizens to arm themselves without obtaining permission from the government.

In a final vote of 75-28, the state legislature has sent the bill to Republican Governor Jeff Landry, who has said explicitly that he supports the measure. The language of the bill allows for all citizens over the age of 18, and without a felony conviction to carry a handgun, going even further than many states who restrict permitless carry to citizens over the age of 21. A previous iteration of the permitless carry bill was vetoed by former Governor John Bel Edwards in 2021. Edwards, a Democrat, was the first governor to veto a constitutional carry bill.

“We’ve always had open carry in Louisiana, and this allows people to conceal carry without that government permission. So that’s really important to people to be able to self-protect themselves from criminals,” said an author of the bill, state Rep. Danny McCormick. “We live in a constitutional republic, and in a republic, the rights and responsibilities belong to the individuals. Until they commit a crime, the government has no right taking those constitutional rights away from them.” Fellow Republican state representative Mike Johnson agreed: “People are getting raped, murdered, carjacked and assaulted; a vote for this bill today gives the citizens of Louisiana the right to defend themselves.”

The Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police opposes the bill, saying that it could “increase the likelihood of firearms ending up in the possession of those who pose a danger to themselves.” The bill also had opposition from members of the state legislature. “It doesn’t seem like many people like it, except for the NRA and the bill sponsors,” said state representative Mandie Landry (D-New Orleans). “Law enforcement hates it, prosecutors hate it, and even in the city, there’s a couple of conservative news radio (hosts) who have been talking it through for a couple weeks now. And none of their listeners like it. If you don’t know how to use (a gun) and if you’re running around with it illegally, law enforcement needs to know that.”

Proponents of individual liberty and private property rights lament the erosion of our God-given freedoms in America. The federal and state governments’ reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic brought about an unprecedented assault on liberty, even bodily autonomy, but despite their best efforts politicians of both parties have been stifled in their attempts to disarm the American people. The Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen in 2021 struck a major blow to gun control advocates and would-be gun grabbing elected officials, and recent gun sales numbers paint a bleak picture for those who wish to destroy the right to self-defense. In 2020, 40% of firearms sold were purchased by first time gun owners; in 2021 that number was still over 30%. Gun purchases by African Americans increased by 44% in 2021 and sales among Hispanic Americans went up by over 40%. So much for the anti-gun narrative that gun owners are all “rednecks.”

There is simply no better indicator that the Second Amendment is here to stay than the victories regarding constitutional carry over the last two decades. Before 2003, only Vermont allowed its citizens to carry a gun without a permit, due to language in its state constitution that bars the government from regulating firearms. In fact, permitless carry in those days was often referred to as “Vermont carry.” Alaska became the second “constitutional carry” state in 2003, and post District of Columbia v Heller the floodgates opened. Arizona in 2010, Wyoming in 2011, Arkansas in 2013, Maine and Kansas in 2015, and 21 more states in the following nine years, including Louisiana pending Governor Landry’s signature, all codified permitless carry into law, in perhaps the largest acceleration of liberty and property rights in recent history.

Doomsday scenarios were predicted by gun control groups and politicians but the results of an increased number of Americans choosing to arm themselves has disproved the naysayers. Ohio’s Center for Justice Research investigated the result of Ohio’s July 2022 adoption of permitless carry and found that overall, crimes involving a firearm are down on average across Ohio’s eight major cities. Per the CJR’s data, “Toledo, Parma, and Akron each experienced an average of 19% decrease in summed rates of crimes involving a firearm post PCL (permitless carry law).” The findings continue, “Based on data from June 2021-June 2023, the enactment of the PCL does not appear to have any appreciable effect on law enforcement injuries or deaths by firearm in the cities of interest.” It turns out that constitutional carry saves lives.

Brady Leonard is a musician, political strategist, and podcaster based in Toledo, Ohio. The No Gimmicks Podcast airs Mondays and Wednesdays at 1pm EST, wherever podcasts are found.
Catalyst articles by Brady Leonard