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Louisiana Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Everytown Respond After Louisiana House of Representatives Passes Reckless Preemption Bill

May 22, 2020

HB 140 Would Force Cities to Allow Guns in Recreational Centers Where Children Play

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, today criticized the Louisiana House of Representatives for voting to advance HB 140, which would eliminate the authority of local governments to prohibit guns in certain businesses and public buildings – including businesses that serve alcohol, and buildings where children play. Volunteers with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action submitted testimony against the bill, and the Louisiana Municipal Association is strongly opposed to the bill.

“Forcing cities to let guns into recreation centers will put us at risk,” said Laura Devitt, volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Trying to do so in the middle of a pandemic, when advocates don’t feel safe coming to the capitol, is further proof that our lawmakers are prioritizing their unpopular, guns everywhere agenda over public safety.”

“Local leaders know that the gun violence epidemic demands action,” said Julia Bishop, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at Tulane University. “But some of our lawmakers would rather hamstring their efforts and score political points with gun extremists while making our parishes less safe.”  

70 percent of Louisiana voters support allowing local governments to prohibit the carrying of firearms in certain commercial establishments and public buildings, such as places where alcohol is served and buildings where children play. This includes 64 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of gun-owning households, and 69 percent of households with permit holders.

HB 140 would force city-run recreational facilities to allow guns in community buildings where children play. Cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans have chosen not to allow guns in recreation centers run by the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, respectively. But this bill would force mayors and police chiefs to allow guns in community centers where families gather. The bill would also impose new security costs on cities, compelled to allow guns into sensitive areas where children play, at a time that they can least afford them.

HB 140 would also invalidate decisions made by localities including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Thibodaux, Lafayette, Hammond, and Mandeville to prohibit firearms in all businesses where alcohol is sold and consumed. Under this bill, Louisiana municipalities would have no authority to prohibit guns in such places. Cities and other municipalities should have the flexibility to make their own public safety decisions, especially in these uncertain times.

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