A bill that would enable Louisiana taxpayers to carry a concealed firearm without a permit advanced through the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday.
The bill would enable individuals to openly carry a concealed gun without any permit or instruction, though it was amended by the House committee to incorporate an optional training course, reports said. It now matches the objective of HB 596, written by Rep. Bryan Fontenot, R-Thibodaux. Fontenot's bill is awaiting a Senate committee hearing.
SB 118 also claims a gun holder cannot have a blood-alcohol degree above .05 and must inform any police officer who approaches them.
Supporters of this bill argue that law-abiding citizens have a right to carry concealed weapons under the Second Amendment unless there's a persuasive reason to prevent them from carrying. Opponents called for much more education than the optional course, while asserting that requiring training and a permit to carry a concealed firearm is a necessary safeguard.
Most of the testimony from the committee Wednesday came from opponents of this change, reports said.
"We're not against concealed carry. We just believe it needs to be supported with training and education," said Mike Knaps of this Louisiana Chiefs Association of Police, according to the LSU Manship School News Service.
State Rep. Frederick Jones, D-Monroe, contended the bill would damage the Black community because some Black men and women believe they're already perceived as threats to law authorities.
"I wish you had been sensitive to this third of this country, or more, of people who have horrible interactions with police enforcement," Jones told Morris. They are a minority, dealing with authorities."
Karen White, executive counsel for the Louisiana Municipal Association, noted that when"it comes to constitutional rights, they're not unconstrained," according to this Bossier Press-Tribune.
When talking HB 596 this month, Fontenot contended that State Police spend roughly $700,000 on the permitting process -- such as history checks -- and amass roughly $5 million each year.
"I believe that training ought to be required however, the constitution says we have the right to own firearms," he advised the House, as stated by the Advocate. "Honest citizens shouldn't be burdened with background checks"
The committee innovative SB 118 in a 6-4 vote, with all Democrats and one independent , LSU Manship School News Service reported.