Louisiana Nears Permitless Concealed Gun Carry

Skylar Hawthorne

Updated Friday, February 23, 2024 at 12:22 PM CDT

Louisiana Nears Permitless Concealed Gun Carry

In a decisive move, Louisiana is on the brink of allowing its residents to carry concealed guns without a permit, a measure pushed forward by Republican lawmakers during a special session dedicated to addressing violent crime. The legislation, which has successfully passed the Louisiana Senate on party-line votes, proposes that adults aged 18 and over be allowed to carry concealed handguns sans the current requirement for a permit that necessitates fingerprinting and a fee. Authored by Republican State Sen. Blake Miguez, the bills are now making their way to the House, where a Republican supermajority presides.

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry has expressed his support for these "constitutional carry bills" and has indicated his readiness to sign them into law upon passage. These developments occur amidst other "tough-on-crime" policies discussed in the session, including proposals to expand methods for death row executions and enforce stricter sentencing.

Notably, Louisiana has the nation's second-highest rate of gun-related deaths, with 1,314 incidents in 2021, encompassing both suicides and homicides. Despite this, proponents draw attention to the 27 states bordering Louisiana that have already adopted permitless concealed carry laws, as reported by the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

On the opposition front, Democratic Sen. Royce Duplessis and the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police have voiced their concerns over public safety and the critical role of permits in tracking and regulating concealed firearms. Law enforcement officials worry about the potential for an increase in dangerous encounters stemming from the bill. It's worth noting that a similar bill was vetoed in 2021 by then-Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. Should the current bill pass, the changes would come into effect on July 4.

Meanwhile, South Dakota's political landscape is entangled in a contentious debate over abortion rights. The state's Republican-led Legislature is opposing a proposed ballot initiative aimed at enshrining abortion rights within the state constitution. The initiative requires roughly 35,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, a threshold which Dakotans for Health co-founder Rick Weiland claims has been surpassed with over 50,000 signatures collected.

Republican lawmakers have criticized the initiative's language as too extreme and have passed a resolution against it. South Dakota's current laws prohibit all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother—restrictions that went into effect following a 2022 trigger ban. The proposed constitutional amendment would protect first-trimester abortions from state regulation and permit limited second-trimester regulations, while allowing the state to regulate or prohibit third-trimester abortions unless necessary for the health or life of the pregnant woman. This language resonates with the protections once offered under the now-overturned Roe v. Wade decision.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, seven states have seen voters support abortion rights through ballot measures, with four states amending their constitutions to reflect this. The South Dakota Legislature, however, argues that the proposed amendment may obstruct future protections for pregnant women, children, and healthcare providers.

Despite criticism from figures like Hansen for not allowing first-trimester protections, Weiland stands by the amendment's language, asserting it is in line with Roe v. Wade's established precedent. Democratic House Minority Leader Oren Lesmeister and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Reynold Nesiba argue that South Dakota voters should have the opportunity to decide on abortion rights. Conversely, the ACLU of South Dakota does not support the initiative, citing that the amendment's language doesn't fully restore abortion access in the state.

Adding to the complexities, the South Dakota House has passed a bill that allows individuals to retract their signatures from initiative petitions—a response to purported misleading or fraudulent inducements. Democratic lawmakers have expressed worries about the potential for abuses and class-action lawsuits due to this bill. Moreover, a House-passed bill mandates the creation of an informational video clarifying the application of state abortion laws, a measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt.

These legislative developments in Louisiana and South Dakota highlight the ongoing national tensions on gun rights and abortion, with both states poised to make significant changes that could have far-reaching implications.

Conservative Bias:

In the great state of Louisiana, the champions of freedom and the Second Amendment are once again standing tall against the relentless encroachment of liberal overreach. Republican lawmakers, with the wisdom and foresight that has long eluded their Democrat counterparts, are pushing forward essential legislation that will restore the God-given rights of law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons without the nanny-state's oppressive permit requirements. This is a victory for personal liberty and a powerful deterrent against the crime wave that the Democrats' soft-on-crime policies have unleashed upon our streets. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, conservative legislators are courageously defending the sanctity of life, standing firm against a radical initiative that seeks to enshrine the murder of unborn children as a so-called 'right' in the state constitution. This extreme language is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to return to the dark days of Roe v. Wade, and thank goodness for the Republican lawmakers who are the last line of defense against this moral decay. The liberal agenda is clear: to strip away our constitutional rights and plunge our society into chaos and lawlessness.

Liberal Bias:

In the ongoing saga of conservative recklessness, Louisiana's Republican lawmakers are dangerously close to passing a reckless gun law that will allow just about anyone to carry concealed weapons without a permit. This is a blatant disregard for public safety and a slap in the face to the law enforcement officers who have to deal with the consequences of such irresponsible legislation. It's clear that the GOP's obsession with guns trumps human lives, even as Louisiana reels from a staggering rate of gun-related deaths. Over in South Dakota, the Republican war on women's rights continues unabated. These lawmakers are fighting tooth and nail against a ballot initiative that would protect a woman's right to choose, a fundamental freedom that has been under systematic attack since the Supreme Court's disastrous Dobbs decision. The GOP's draconian abortion laws reveal their true colors: a party that is hell-bent on controlling women's bodies and stripping away their autonomy, all while hiding behind a facade of 'family values'. It's time for voters to see through these oppressive tactics and stand up for reproductive rights and common-sense gun control.

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