Pistol holsters on display at a 2023 gun show
Pistol holsters on display at a 2023 gun show / Stephen Gutowski

Louisiana Passes Permitless Gun Carry

The Pelican State will soon become the 28th to allow legal gun owners to carry concealed without a permit.

The Louisiana House of Representatives gave final approval to Senate Bill 1 after a 75-28 vote on Wednesday. The measure will allow anyone 18 and older who is eligible to own a handgun to carry it concealed in public without a permit. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jeff Landry (R.), who has pledged to sign it into law.

“While criminals carry guns without regard for the law, lawful gun owners are our most law-abiding citizens. Their armed presence helps deter violent crime,” Landry said at the onset of the special session. “It is time Louisiana joined 27 other states who have created a constitutional right to carry a firearm without the government’s permission. This body has repeatedly passed it. Now you have a governor who will sign it.”

The bill’s passage is a win for gun-rights advocates who have tried to enact permitless carry in Louisiana for years. Lawmakers previously came close in 2021 but ultimately failed to override then-Governor John Bel Edwards’ (D.) veto of the measure after several senators flipped their votes at the last minute. Landry’s election in 2023 gave the state’s Republicans their first trifecta in eight years and provided the momentum needed to give permitless carry another go.

Senator Blake Miguez (R.), the bill’s primary sponsor, celebrated the outcome of the House vote.

“Thank you to the LA House of Representatives for passing #SB1 (Constitutional Carry) without amendments,” he wrote on X. “It will now head to Governor Jeff Landry’s desk for signature with an effective date of July 4th this year, in honor of the our nation’s Independence Day.”

On the other hand, gun-control advocates denounced the bill.

“Louisiana lawmakers have chosen to make our restaurants, schools, grocery stores, parks, and everywhere else we go more vulnerable to gun violence,” Angelle Bradford, a member of the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “Instead of serving the Louisians they were sworn to protect, these lawmakers are bowing to a gun lobby that feeds on their political ambition to rake in millions of dollars — all while not taking any responsibility for the role it plays in tearing our families apart.”

The bill’s passage in Louisiana is emblematic of gun-rights advocates’ remarkable success in pushing for permitless carry across the nation at a rapid clip. Until 2010, just Alaska and Vermont allowed permitless concealed carry. Now a majority of states allow it.

At the same time, the policy is at or near its soft cap for further growth. There are few remaining states with the political conditions necessary for the policy to pass, namely sizeable Republican majorities and strong pro-gun constituencies. Just one other state, South Carolina, is seriously considering a permitless carry measure this year, and that effort appears to be stalled over infighting between the state’s House and Senate Republicans.

Like the vast majority of permitless carry regimes in the US, Louisiana’s bill does not entirely eliminate permits. It would continue to honor existing permits and offer new ones for purposes of interstate reciprocity. Additionally, as in other states, those with felony records or who would otherwise fail a background check to own a firearm can not legally carry one under the bill.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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