Today, the Louisiana House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee voted to advance HB37, dangerous permitless carry legislation to remove the state’s permitting requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public. The vote came despite staunch opposition from key public safety stakeholders, including law enforcement, faith leaders, local leaders, and gun safety advocates who testified against the bill.
“Louisiana is already in the middle of a gun violence crisis, and permitless carry is the last thing we need,” said Angelle Bradford, a volunteer lead with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “All it takes is one bad day, one bad experience, one bad decision for tragedy to strike. So why are our lawmakers trying to make it easier for people with dangerous histories to carry handguns with no permit and no training requirement? We’re treading dangerous territory, and legislators should do everything in their power to put a stop to this bill immediately.”
During the testimony, Fabian Blanche, Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police provided strong testimony in opposition to HB37, saying “I think this is a bad bill. I have fought against it in the past and I will continue to fight against it as long as I can.” Permitless carry has long been staunchly opposed by law enforcement leaders in Louisiana and across the country, including in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina.
The push to pass permitless carry was defeated last session when Governor Edwards vetoed it. The Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Louisiana Municipal Association, Louisiana Interchurch Conference, and Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops all testified against the policy. Volunteers with Moms Demand Action also testified, and they contacted their representatives hundreds of times to urge them to reject permitless carry.
Permitless carry is a dangerous policy — 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. The permitting system is Louisiana’s only remaining foundational gun safety law, and removing it threatens to open the door to even more gun violence in the state.
In an average year, 1,036 people die by guns in Louisiana, and 4,397 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the state. More information on gun violence in Louisiana is available here.