A House committee advanced Senate-approved legislation that would do away with the need to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun for those 21 and older and those without a felony record.

The bill is opposed by the Louisiana Chiefs of Police Association, but West Monroe Senator Jay Morris said not all law enforcement are against his bill, including his chief of police.

“Police chief Terrell said restrictions don’t hurt anyone but law-abiding citizens. When you look at it the people who are not going to follow the law are criminals,” said Morris who added his bill is about protecting 2nd Amendment rights and liberties “So that people can exercise their constitutional rights to protect themselves, their family, and their property without having to go to the Government to ask permission.”

The bill also includes language requiring the state to offer an optional free-of-charge 60-minute online training course teaching concealed carry basics including use of deadly force, interaction with law enforcement, and firearm-free zones.

Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle voted against what proponents are calling “Constitutional Carry”. She said this will only result in more untrained gun owners carrying in public.

“If a permit-less carry person shoots one of your loved ones, without training, would they then still support this bill?” Marcelle asked supporters of the bill.

Representative Frederick Jones echoed other Black lawmakers in saying passing this bill would put law enforcement on edge because they would now assume everyone they stop has a gun on them. He said it would result in more police shootings of Black people.

“Now it is going to give them a reason to shoot them if they get nervous because they don’t even have the training to know if these guys have a gun or do not have a gun,” said Jones.

The final vote was 6-4 in favor. The bill heads to the House floor for final passage. Governor Edwards has vowed to veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

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