Louisiana legislative committee advances permitless carry gun bill
In a move that has sparked controversy and concern, the Louisiana House Criminal Justice Committee has advanced a bill that would allow any adult to carry a concealed handgun without a license. House Bill 131, sponsored by Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, received an 8-1 vote in favor, with committee Chair Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna, being the only member opposed. Notably, no Democrats were present during the vote.
House Bill 131, often referred to as a "constitutional carry" bill, is based on the belief that the U.S. Constitution allows individuals to carry firearms without requiring a permit. If passed, the bill would eliminate training and background check requirements for concealed carry in Louisiana. This is not the first time Rep. McCormick has proposed such legislation, as he introduced a similar bill last year, which ultimately stalled in the Senate after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.
Numerous progressive groups and law enforcement organizations, including the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, have voiced their opposition to the bill. Rep. Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, expressed some reservations about certain provisions of the bill, particularly the lowering of the age requirement for concealed carry to 18 and the removal of training requirements. Despite her concerns, Villio still supported the bill. As a former prosecutor, she emphasized the importance of training requirements for responsible firearm ownership.
Rep. McCormick, on the other hand, agreed with Villio but argued that individuals would take responsibility for their own training even without government mandates. He stated, "We should trust people with their rights," emphasizing the belief in individual responsibility.
The next step for House Bill 131 is a debate on the House floor, where it will face further scrutiny and discussion. The passage of this bill could have significant implications for gun control and public safety in Louisiana, with advocates and opponents closely watching its progress.