June 11, 2022

Mercedes Schneider: Louisiana Legislature Unable to Address Gun Problem by Adding More Guns

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Louisiana’s legislature really wanted to get more guns sold. It didn’t work out. Reposted with permission.

The 2022 Louisiana legislature concluded its regular session unable to pass any bill that addresses mass shootings in public places by easing restrictions and increasing the availability of guns.

In June 2021, Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, vetoed a concealed-carry bill for Louisiana residents 21 years and older. The 2021 Louisiana Senate did not have the two-thirds majority of votes necessary to override the governor’s veto.

On February 01, 2022, Louisiana Rep. Danny McCormick prefiled HB 37, “Weapons/Handguns: Provides Relative to the Concealed Carrying of Firearms.”

In its original form, HB 37 sought to change Louisiana law from mostly prohibiting the carrying of a concealed firearm, with exceptions requiring a concealed weapon permit, to anyone 18 years and older allowed to carry a concealed weapon, no permit necessary, provided that person “is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under RS 14:95.1 (felony conviction) or any other federal or state law.”

By April 13, 2022, HB 37 (engrossed) had been amended (at the suggestion of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice) to raise the no-permit, concealed-carry age from 18 to 21. One week later, April 20, 2022, as per the suggestion of Rep. Fontenot, the Louisiana House amended the bill to include “a sixty-minute online concealed handgun education course at no cost to Louisiana residents” not intended “to fulfill the requirements for obtaining a Concealed Handgun Permit under R.S. 40:1379.3” as well as having the “state police …maintain an online database of all licensed handgun and firearm instructors to allow the public to search for classes.” The same day, April 20, 2022, Rep. Miguez suggested amending HB 37 by dropping the Fontenot amendments and adding the Louisiana Firearm Safety Awareness Act,” which is an optional, two-hour online handgun education course (as opposed to Fontenot’s optional, one-hour course).

By the time of the final Louisiana House vote on April 20, 2022, according to HB 37, anyone 21 years or older and who has no felony conviction would be able to purchase and conceal a firearm with only optional, online education necessary.

Off went HB 37 Reengrossed to the Louisiana Senate. The bill was referred to the Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25, 2022, where it sat for over a month, until May 24, 2022–

–which happened to be the day of the Robb Elementary School shooting massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

On June 02, 2022, with the Uvalde massacre front and center in the news, the Louisiana Senate gutted the gun-access-relaxing bill via amendment to reshape it into a gun-access-relaxing bill focused on increasing the gun presence in Louisiana schools— “in addition to the normal responsibilities and duties of the teacher or administrator.”

Increased responsibility without the bother of mandatory, additional compensation.

Former faculty could even come out of retirement to volunteer for this gig:

No word about who would pay for the training, or the firearms, or the liability. It seems that the 2022 Louisiana legislature in all of its largesse would leave the footing of any School Protection Officer bills with the school districts, which would also be responsible for increased (and unfunded) red tape associated with tracking and monitoring a School Protection force seemingly expected to assume this serious responsibility for (at best) some token, local-level stipend.

I have yet to read the unicorn of a teacher-packing bill that has written into the legislation funds earmarked for both generous compensation and prefunded liability insurance for the teacher. I disagree with the idea of arming teachers, but it would be something to see a bill in which the legislators valued armed teachers enough to include in the legislation the money to pay the teachers and fund the requisite liability policy.

Saving the world for free is a tiresome endeavor.

As for Louisiana’s HB 37: On June 05, 2022, the House voted on the Senate-amendment rewrite, and that’s where it ended. The Senate did not vote on HB 37 once returned from the House.

For whatever reason, the 2022 Louisiana Senate chose not to follow the more-guns bandwagon all the way to the end of the parade.

Could be the result of thinking and praying.

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