Posted on August 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:03 AM
Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @taniadall
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana off-duty law enforcement officers still have to ditch the firearms inside a bar or restaurant. An opinion issued on Monday
by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell supports current state law.
"Obviously alcohol and firearms don't mix. That's the reason this statute was passed in the first place," said Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino.
Law enforcement officers patrol Bourbon Street armed daily. They also show up to crime scenes with guns in their holsters. But an effort to change current law to allow off-duty law enforcement officers to bring guns into bars and restaurants recently failed.
Attorney General Caldwell issued a five-page opinion this week in support of the current state law prohibiting off-duty officers from bringing guns into a restaurant and bar, unless they're officially on the clock.
"The AG's opinion I think is a reasonable one. In the sense that if an officer is going in as a patron to drink, he shouldn't go in with his firearm. But if he's going to go in to enforce the laws and protect the public, then he can go in with his firearm," said Ciolino.
A bill was filed this past session by state Representative Henry Burns pushing for off-duty law enforcement officers to carry guns into establishments that sell alcohol. It failed but is expected to be revisited next legislative session.
"The real question is a policy one. Whether as a matter of policy the Louisiana legislature wants to allow officers to go into restaurants and bars with their fire arms when they're not on duty?," said Ciolino.
The New Orleans Fraternal Order of Police supports such an amendment.
"There have been numerous cases where officers have been retaliated against. We're in favor of officers being able to carry firearms in restaurants, and we're also in favor of responsible gun ownership," said New Orleans Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Donovan Livaccari. He adds despite the AG's recent opinion efforts will likely be made next session to change the current law.
"I think we would like to try again. What we always have to be careful this is obviously a touchy subject and gun rights evoke all types of responses from people," said Livaccari.
To read Attorney General Caldwell's full opinion CLICK HERE