Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
BATON ROUGE, La. -- A group of state lawmakers, congressional delegates and others, called Defend Louisiana, are speaking out against gun control efforts here and across the country.
"We're not gonna allow anymore incremental attacks on the Second Amendment," said state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City.
The group pushed its message on the steps of the state capitol Monday afternoon, as lawmakers wrapped up the first day of the legislative session.
Defend Louisiana members said they'll stand together as lawmakers tackle the 11 gun-related measures that were filed ahead of the session.
Most of the bills are designed to bolster gun rights.
"We believe, as you do, that the Second Amendment didn't create one single right. Those rights predate the Second Amendment and the Constitution," Thompson said.
"As Governor Rick Perry of Texas said, and I've said this many times, in Louisiana, we call stronger gun control using two hands," said House Speaker Charles Kleckley, R-Lake Charles.
But in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut last year, and as New Orleans continues dealing with a soaring murder rate, state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans East, said some controls are needed.
Badon is pushing a bill that would require training before a gun purchase, but he acknowledges the problems go much deeper.
"We have to do something as a civilized society to address the issue of an inundation within our society of guns," he said.
Defend Louisiana members, however, vow to hold firm in their stance.
"We don't need more gun laws,” Thompson said. “Law-abiding citizens should not be demonized and criminalized in this process."
As numerous members echoed that argument at the podium Monday, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. -– a fellow gun rights supporter -- offered a warning.
"Be careful what you say because I can promise that those who are opposed to our personal freedoms will take something that we say will twist it, showing it on MSNBC or someplace else, to discredit our argument for freedom," he said.