Permitless carry bills in both Louisiana and neighboring Texas are awaiting votes in their respective state senates that could put those states on the road to adopting constitutional carry laws.
In Louisiana, SB 118 was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, while a similar measure has been filed in the state House. The proposal would allow Louisiana residents to continue obtaining permits if a resident needs reciprocity with other states that have a permit requirement but would not make a permit a requirement to legally carry a concealed handgun.
"This bill really shouldn't be necessary as our right to bear arms is already established under the Second Amendment, and any limitations on that right should be narrow," said state Sen. Jay Morris, R-Monroe, SB 118's sponsor.
The measure is now being reviewed by the Senate as a whole and is nearing its third reading and final passage. If successful, House approval would send the bill to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Although a Democrat, Edwards has gone on record as being broadly supportive of gun rights in the conservative state known as the Sportsman's Paradise and has signed pro-gun measures while in office.
Three of Louisiana's neighboring states – Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee – have permitless carry laws, with the latter adopting one earlier this month.
Texas Senate up to bat
Bordering Louisiana to the west, lawmakers in the Lone Star state are weighing their own most successful attempt in a decade to move the ball on permitless carry practices. Earlier this month, the Texas state House approved HB 1927 by a wide margin. The bill would recognize the right of those over age 21 to have a concealed handgun without a permit.
Now, the proposal is reportedly stalled in the state Senate where, although Republicans command the chamber with a healthy 18-13 majority, the votes aren't there to send it to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. However, this could change as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the president of the Senate, is mustering support to bring it over the line.
“If we have the votes to pass a permitless carry bill off the Senate floor, I will move it," Patrick said in a statement, as detailed by the Texas Tribune. "At this point, we don’t have the votes on the floor to pass it. I plan to meet with law enforcement who oppose permitless carry and with the NRA and GOA who support it to see if we can find a path that a majority of senators will vote to pass.”
Meanwhile, Abbott, who has signed expansions for open carry and campus carry while in office and could possibly face popular movie swagger hound Matthew McConaughey at the polls, was non-committal on HB 1927, saying Tuesday, "We are looking at all of these bills as they are working their way through the Capitol."
So far, 20 states recognize some form of widespread permitless concealed carry.
Banner image: USGI M1911A1 in Galco Yaqui slide belt holster by Chris Eger/Guns.com.