A measure to roll back the requirement for a state-issued concealed carry permit cleared its final hurdles in the Louisiana legislature on Tuesday but is headed for a cool reception from the governor.
The proposal, Senate Bill 118, passed the state House 72-28 on May 27 with amendments attached that required the state Senate to give it a final concurrence, which occurred this week in a 27-9 vote. The popular bill, with a seemingly veto-proof margin of over two-thirds of the legislature, is now headed to Gov. John Bell Edwards, a Democrat who has threatened to dunk it in veto ink.
Edwards, when asked about the bill in April, said he felt "very strongly that a considerable majority of the people in Louisiana support the system we currently have,” pointing towards keeping the state's current concealed carry permitting scheme as is.
However, The Sportsman's Paradise has one of the highest costs in the country when it comes to obtaining a permit, mandating a fee of $125 for a five-year permit, both for originals and renewals. Added to this is the cost of training from a state-approved instructor, required for both initial applications and refreshers prior to renewal applications. This is in one of the poorest states in the country. Further, all of Louisiana's neighbors – Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas – either have long had permitless carry laws or are moving towards establishing them.
Supporters of permitless carry in the state point to such requirements as odious to the right to keep and bear arms.
"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, the proposal's sponsor.
Should Edwards scuttle SB 118, it remains to be seen if state lawmakers will mount a rare veto override attempt in the face of possible blowback from the Governor's office. If successful, it would set up Louisiana to join the ranks of more than 20 other states that already recognize permitless or constitutional carry.