Louisiana legislature faces new gun bills

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February 14, 2013

Louisiana

By Phil Sletten

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana: Louisiana legislators have introduced a raft of new bills regarding gun regulations to be debated in the upcoming session. The bills range from requiring gun safety measures in homes to ensuring Second Amendment rights in Louisiana if the United States Congress chooses to pass restrictive gun control measures.[1]

One bill, filed by State Representative Henry Burns (R), would require the names of those individuals deemed mentally or physically ill through judicial proceedings to be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This step, according to Burns, would help prevent gun sellers from accidentally distributing firearms to the mentally infirm.[2] This legislation echoes a call by Governor Bobby Jindal (R) to make Louisiana the 18th state that shares information on its mentally ill residents with the federal government.[3]

State Representative Jim Morris (R) filed legislation that would require that the state refuse to enforce federal laws that restrict ownership of semi-automatic weapons. The bill would require the Louisiana Attorney General to defend any Louisiana resident changed with breaking a federal law regarding ownership of a semi-automatic weapon or accessories.[1] This bill arose from state legislators' concerns over potential new federal gun regulation, about which Governor Jindal has also expressed concerns.[4] Another bill, introduced by Representative John Schroder (R) would permit off-duty police officers to carry weapons on school grounds, while a third, introduced by Jeff Thompson (R), extends privacy protections to those who have concealed carry permits for their weapons.[1]

A fourth bill, filed by Representative Barbara Norton (D), would fine Louisiana residents for not securing their guns with tamper-resistant locks, which would make accidentally firing the weapon unlikely. Norton expressed concern over the safety of children and other citizens, and said that a lock would not add a significant amount of reaction time for owners seeking to repel intruders with their firearms.[1]

In the November 2012 elections, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment that strengthened legal protections for Second Amendment rights, with nearly three-quarters of all voters in favor of the measure.[5] Louisiana is one of the most politically conservative states in the country, according to a recent Gallup poll.[6] Violent crime rates are higher in Louisiana than in most other states, and only Washington, D.C. surpasses Louisiana in murders per capita, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics.[4]

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