The judiciary committee voted Tuesday to endorse a bill easing restrictions on concealed firearms.
Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia described his measure as an attempt to ensure the state has strong protections for gun owners if federal courts overturn current U.S. constitutional provisions.
Because the language would be written into the Louisiana Constitution, it would limit future lawmakers’ ability to write restrictions on weapons, like concealed handgun.
District attorneys, chiefs of police and higher education leaders oppose the change, as do some lawyers.
Some opponents are concerned that gun-free zones would be illegal under the proposal.
Other lawyers say the measure would not create undue legal challenges.
Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, a supporter of the bill, said he wanted to make sure it was written so that it protects Louisiana residents’ gun rights, without keeping the state in court for decades fighting over existing restrictions.
The Louisiana Constitution guarantees the “right of each citizen to keep and bear arms,” but allows the “passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.”
Riser’s bill would remove the language allowing laws to prohibit concealed weapons and guarantee citizens the right to bear arms “for defense of life and liberty and for all other legitimate purposes.”
To become law, the bill would has to pass both houses and a vote by the general public.