State legislators on Wednesday rejected a proposal that would have allowed Louisiana residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
After a hearing that included testimony from shooting victims and gun rights advocates, the House Committee on Criminal Justice vote 8-5 to shelve the proposal, dubbed by supporters as "constitutional carry."
Louisiana already allows gun owners to openly carry without a permit – meaning they don't need to be licensed or take classes if their guns are worn out in the open. Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, has pushed a similar legislation to expand that to guns that could be concealed in bags or worn under jackets several times in recent sessions. The idea has gained traction in other states, with at least 12 adopting similar laws, based on information tracked by the NRA.
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Charles Saucier, a Tangipahoa Parish resident and member of the Libertarian Party, said that he believes such an effort is appropriate.
"All this legislation does is bring the laws into compliance with the values of Louisiana citizens," he told the panel. "It really is an infringement to ask for a permission slip to carry (a firearm) whichever way you see fit."
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But several opponents argued that it would put people at risk of being involved in accidental or deliberate shootings.
Cissy Rowland, of Metairie, was one of the victims during the deadly theater shooting in Lafayette in 2015. She told legislators that any effort to make it easier to carry a gun would threaten safety.
"Today I live with pain, limited mobility and (post traumatic stress disorder)," she told them.
Ivey said he understands the opponents to his proposal, though he disagrees.
"It's an issue that both sides are passionate about. I can appreciate that," he said.
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