Bill allowing permitless concealed carry in Louisiana heads to the governor’s desk for signature

Feb 28, 2024, 3:11 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

FILE - The Louisiana state Capitol stands on April 4, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La. Under a new era of ...

FILE - The Louisiana state Capitol stands on April 4, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La. Under a new era of conservative leadership, Louisiana’s GOP-dominated legislature will gather Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, for a special legislative session that could reshape the state’s criminal justice system and the public safety sector. (AP Photo/Stephen Smith, File)

(AP Photo/Stephen Smith, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bill allowing Louisiana residents, 18 and older, to carry a concealed handgun without a permit received final approval from lawmakers Wednesday.

After years of GOP-led efforts for permitless concealed carry, the bill is poised to become law with Gov. Jeff Landry signaling that he plans to sign the legislation. Upon the Republican’s signature, Louisiana would become the 28th state that allows people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. However, it would be only one of a handful of states where the law would apply to those as young as 18.

The proposed law will allow eligible people to carry guns hidden in their clothing without having to pay for a government permit, having their fingerprints taken or completing a firearm training course — which are all currently required.

Legislators also greenlit a bill that would provide a level of immunity from civil liability for someone who holds a concealed carry permit and uses their firearm to shoot a person in self-defense.

Under the permitless concealed carry bill, those who legally own a gun would still be restricted from carrying it in certain areas, including schools, churches, police stations, courthouses and the Capitol.

Supporters of the legislation, which was brought forth during a special legislative session that Landry called to address violent crime in the state, routinely describe the measure as a “constitutional carry bill” — arguing that the current permitting requirements are unconstitutional.

However, this session, proponents of permitless concealed carry also put a particular focus on a need and right for citizens to protect themselves against criminals who ignore laws, saying that “evil is everywhere” and “police alone can not protect us.” This session, lawmakers are considering a slew of “tough-on-crime” policies during their short session — ranging from expanding death row execution methods, charging 17-year-olds as adults and eliminating the opportunity of parole for most jailed in the future.

“People are getting raped, murdered, carjacked and assaulted,” said Louisiana state Rep. Mike Johnson. “A vote for this bill today gives the citizens of Louisiana the right to defend themselves.”

Deep South Democrats, some of whom own guns and have gone through the process to obtain concealed carry permits, say that while they support the Second Amendment, they have concerns over a lack of training that would be required for those wishing to carry a gun. In addition, they opposed the age for the bill being 18.

Opponents of the bill pointed to Louisiana’s high rate of gun violence that they feel could worsen with the bill. The state had the country’s second-highest rate of gun-related deaths in 2021 with 1,314, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure includes suicides and homicides.

In addition, some police departments and the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police have opposed the bill — saying that removing the process could “increase the likelihood of firearms ending up in the possession of those who pose a danger to themselves.”

Law enforcement officers also worry the legislation could increase the number of dangerous situations they face.

Louisiana has been close to enacting a permitless concealed carry law before. In 2021, the GOP-dominated Legislature passed a bill that was vetoed by then-Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat. At the start of this month’s special session, Gov. Landry told lawmakers, “Now, you have a governor who will sign it.”

If the bill is signed by Landry, the law would take effect on July 4.

National News

Associated Press

Ex-police officer pleads guilty to punching man in custody about 13 times

BOSTON (AP) — A former Weymouth, Massachusetts, police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting a man in his custody nearly two years ago by punching him about a dozen times without justification. Justin Chappell, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to federal prosecutors. U.S. District Court […]

6 minutes ago

Associated Press

Douglas DC-4 plane crashes into river outside Fairbanks, Alaska; not clear how many people on board

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Douglas DC-4 airplane crashed into the Tanana River near Fairbanks on Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers said. It was not immediately known how many people were on board. The website said standard passenger seating for a DC-4 was 44 during its heyday, but most have been converted to freighters. Troopers […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

College students, inmates and a nun: A unique book club meets at one of the nation’s largest jails

CHICAGO (AP) — For college senior Nana Ampofo, an unconventional book club inside one of the nation’s largest jails has transformed her career ambitions. Each week, the 22-year-old drives a van of her DePaul University peers to Cook County Jail to discuss books with inmates and recently, the well-known activist Sister Helen Prejean. Ampofo comes […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Someone fishing with a magnet dredged up new evidence in Georgia couple’s killing, officials say

McRAE-HELENA, Ga. (AP) — Someone using a magnet to fish for metal objects in a Georgia creek pulled up a rifle as well as some lost belongings of a couple found slain in the same area more than nine years ago. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says driver’s licenses, credit cards and other items dragged […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Supreme Court to weigh whether doctors can provide emergency abortions in states with bans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly two years after overturning the constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court will consider Wednesday how far state bans can extend to women in medical emergencies. The justices are weighing a case from Idaho, where a strict abortion ban went into effect shortly after the high court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Transgender Louisianans lost their ally in the governor’s seat. Now they’re girding for a fight

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As transgender people in Louisiana watched surrounding states in the deeply conservative South implement a slew of laws targeting nearly every facet of their lives in recent years, they counted on their ally in the governor’s office to keep their home a relative oasis. Former Gov. John Bel Edwards, the […]

4 hours ago

Bill allowing permitless concealed carry in Louisiana heads to the governor’s desk for signature