BATON ROUGE — A Senate committee advanced a bill, 4-1, that would allow permitless concealed carry for residents over 21.
State Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, presented House Bill 131 to the Senate Judiciary B committee Tuesday.
The committee amended the bill to change the age requirement for carrying concealed firearms with obtaining a permit or training to 21 from 18.
Three Republicans and state Sen. Gregory W. Tarver Sr., a Democrat from Shreveport, supported the bill. State Sen. Joseph Bouie Jr., D-New Orleans voted against it.
“Unfortunately, for too long, Louisiana has been infringing on that God given right, forcing law abiding citizens to pay a tax while asking for government permission,” McCormick said about current gun laws that require residents to obtain a permit to concealed carry.
McCormick said Louisiana is an open carry state and that this bill would mimic the law that allows individuals 18 and over to open carry firearms. He said the bill would simply expand the law to allow permitless concealed carry.
McCormick’s bill passed the House with a 71-29 vote May 23, 2023. State Rep. Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, presented a similar age amendment in the House that was rejected, 48-52.
“You know there’s nothing in the Constitution that says you can carry a weapon concealed, right?” state Sen. Gary L. Smith Jr., D-Norco and the Senate committee’s chairman, said Tuesday. “It says you have the right to bear arms not the right to conceal arms.”
Those who spoke in opposition of the bill said that training and background checks that are required to obtain a concealed carry permit are important safeguards for gun use in the state.
Supporters said that the bill is consistent with the Second Amendment and that it would place Louisiana in line with 27 other states that have similar laws in place.