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As the 2022 Legislative Session Begins Today in Louisiana, Here’s What to Know About Gun Violence in the State

March 14, 2022

As the Louisiana legislature returns for the start of the 2022 legislative session today, lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. 2021 was marked by staggering levels of gun violence fueled by the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda. Across the nation, we saw historic levels of gunfire on school grounds and record homicide numbers in some cities. Shootings across the states underscored the deadly effects of America’s lax gun legislation, and the high profile trials of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers and Kyle Rittenhouse highlighted the dangers of open carry and Shoot First or “Stand Your Ground” laws. As the stress and rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic extend into the new year, meaningful action on gun safety remains more critical than ever.

Despite record levels of gun violence in 2021, Louisiana lawmakers continue to weaken the state’s gun laws. The state legislature passed permitless carry legislation in 2021 that would have allowed for concealed carry without a permit, training, or background check. Only the governor’s veto prevented permitless carry from becoming law in the state. This year, permitless carry is back on the table, and the state is following in the footsteps of other states working to pass this dangerous legislation against the objection of law enforcement, local leaders, and community members.

This session, lawmakers should protect Louisianans by rejecting dangerous legislation that would weaken our gun laws and, instead, support gun safety bills that would reduce gun deaths and save lives — starting with funding violence intervention programs and rejecting permitless carry and nullification legislation.

What to know about violence intervention programs:

  • Communities across Louisiana are suffering from the impacts of gun violence. Local violence reduction, intervention, and prevention programs can help reduce gun violence in some of the communities most heavily impacted.
  • By using funds allocated to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act to support and expand violence intervention programs, the Louisiana legislature can help community-based partnerships and non-profit organizations conduct life-saving work throughout the state.

What to know about permitless carry:

  • Data shows that states that have passed permitless carry legislation are experiencing a substantial increase in gun violence. States that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced a 13-15 percent increase in violent crime rates and an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates.
  • Permitless carry laws significantly hinder law enforcement’s ability to prevent people with dangerous histories — including extremists and white supremacists with criminal histories — from carrying firearms, putting public safety in jeopardy. 
  • Permitless carry legislation has been staunchly opposed by Louisiana law enforcement, as well as law enforcement across the country, including in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and South Carolina.

What to know about nullification:

  • Across the country, nullification laws have a chilling effect on law enforcement and local officials working to keep their communities safe, making it more difficult for state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal public safety laws.
  • Just last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit to prevent Missouri from enforcing its nullification law, alleging that the state’s nullification law has hindered cooperation between federal, state, and local law enforcement in enforcing federal firearms laws — a strong reminder that efforts to nullify life-saving gun safety laws will not go unchallenged.

What to know about gun violence in Louisiana

  • Louisiana has weak gun laws, scoring only 20 out of 100 for gun law strength while maintaining the second highest rate of gun deaths in the country.
  • In an average year, 1,036 people die by guns in Louisiana, and 4,397 more are wounded. Black people in Louisiana are 9 times as likely to die by gun homicide than white people.
  • Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the state.
  • Gun violence costs Louisiana $8.4 billion each year, of which $507.1 million is paid by taxpayers.

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