BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana already has a law that allows people to carry a gun without a permit, if that weapon is exposed and visible to the public.
But if you want to hide the firearm under a jacket or in your purse, you are required to be trained and certified. A bill now moving through the state legislature would allow you to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette says it is just extending the right to defend yourself to all law-abiding citizens.
He argues criminals have no problem carrying concealed weapons regardless of what the law says.
“If a criminal can do it, then the government should not stand in the way of a law-abiding citizen standing up and using his second amendment rights to protect himself and his family,” Garofalo said.
Opponents say having more concealed guns in public is dangerous for communities and law enforcement.
St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre told WWL-TV, he wants gun owners to be properly trained and certified.
“There’s a fascination with guns now with young people,” Tregre said. “Now, we’re just going to open the doors for everybody to carry a gun. How are my officers going to know who’s carrying legally and illegally? How do I train for that?”
Tuesday, after a lengthy debate, the House Criminal Justice Committee advanced the permitless carry bill to the full House for more discussion.
“I would like our citizens our good citizens out there to work with law enforcement,” Tregre said. “I think it’s going to make it more difficult for people to want to be police officers, to tell you the truth.”
“Our law has a lot of protections,” Garofalo said. “In fact, we amended this bill to require that it doesn’t apply to 18- to 21-year-old. It would 21 years and older.”
More than two-dozen states already allow permitless carry including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.