Two-line proposed amendment could have huge effect on gun control laws

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 18 at 7:01 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

JEFFERSON, La. -- It is all about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in the fight over Amendment No. 2 to the state constitution.

"Amendment No. 2 is a simple amendment. It's just two lines," said George Peterson of American Freedom and Supply in Jefferson Parish.

In its two sentences, Amendment No. 2 calls the right to bear arms "fundamental" and adds that any restrictions on that right would be subject to "strict scrutiny."

Those two words could have a major legal impact.

"It would not only prevent the legislature from enacting new gun laws that would be for the public's protection, it could also potentially be used to strike down laws, for example, that don't allow people to bring guns on college campuses, or into grocery stores or bars or churches," said Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos.

That means more than 80 current gun laws could be more easily challenged in court. The Bureau of Governmental Research opposes the amendment, calling it "alarming" and a public safety issue.

"Louisiana has the third highest death by firearms in the United States. New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates," said BGR President Janet Howard. "There is just no good reason, as far as we can see, to create uncertainty in this area and make it more difficult to regulate guns than it currently is."

Supporters, though, said "strict scrutiny" is all about common sense.

"A legislator from some parish or whatever wants to make something that's non-sensical -- like banning assault weapons or sales in a certain parish -- you'd have to be under strict scrutiny to see if that's actually reasonable," Peterson said.

It is a scrutiny that will now fall on voters, as they decide on Nov. 6th, whether or not the proposal is reasonable.

 

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