April 15, 2024

Louisiana’s legislature recently implemented permitless carry, a monumental victory in the fight for gun rights. Now, Republican state lawmakers are considering a measure that would ensure that local governments are unable to subvert the new law by imposing their own gun restrictions.

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State Sen. Blake Miguez, who authored the permitless carry legislation, introduced a bill prohibiting local agencies and governments from enacting additional restrictions in response to the new law that would impede people’s rights to keep and bear arms.

Senate Bill 194, recently advanced from the Senate Judiciary C Committee to the floor, would bring uniformity to the state’s firearm regulations. If passed, it would essentially centralize gun restrictions at the state level, preventing local municipalities from implementing restrictions more stringent than those established by the state.

At the heart of the bill is an effort to preempt excessive restrictions imposed by local municipalities. It mandates that “No governing authority of a political subdivision shall enact…or enforce any ordinance, order, or regulation…more restrictive than state law concerning…firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition.”

This would mean that firearm laws are streamlined and that gun owners face a consistent set of rules regardless of where they reside in the state.

The proposal does have certain exceptions. It states that it will not apply to “the levy and collection of sales and use taxes, license fees and taxes and permit fees.” The bill would not restrict the ability of local governments to “prohibit the possession of a weapon or firearm in the commercial establishments and public buildings.”

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Enforcement of the proposed law would fall to individuals or organizations affected. It would empower people to seek legal remedies against localities seeking to further restrict gun ownership. “A person or an organization whose membership is adversely affected…may file suit against an offending political subdivision in any court of this state having jurisdiction for declaratory and injunctive relief,” the bill reads.

Additionally, the bill would give local governments six months to do away with gun laws that run afoul of the state legislation.

If passed, this measure would be yet another win for gun rights in Louisiana. It would secure a baseline level of freedom for gun owners by preventing anti-gunners in city-level offices from trying to offset the impact of permitless carry by imposing more restrictions that could nullify state law in this regard.

The bill would essentially prevent overzealous anti-gunners from enforcing arbitrary or capricious ordinances aimed at infringing on the Second Amendment.

Normally, I would advocate for local cities to be allowed to set their own ordinances and laws without state or federal interference. However, when it comes to protecting natural rights, in this case, the right to keep and bear arms, a proposal such as Senate Bill 194 is an appropriate measure for protecting Constitutional rights.

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If the measure passes, it will take effect August 1, 2024. The coming months will likely see spirited debate in the state legislature. Hopefully, the state lawmakers will continue to push forward in their efforts to protect gun rights.

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