Monday, May 24, 2021

Louisiana Legislature Votes Overwhelmingly for Constitutional Carry in 2021


Louisiana State Capitol, from wikimedia CC 2.5, 18 Oct, 2006, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

HB 596 was passed on 5 May, 2021. It is fairly good Constitutional Carry bill with a 21 year old age limit and a requirement to reveal to peace officers your condition of being armed.

Voting was 73 to 26 for final passage.  From the

A bill that would allow citizens 21 and older to carry a concealed handgun without a permit breezed through the Louisiana House on Wednesday.

The measure, House Bill 596, won approval 72-28 after a short but spirited debate.

It next faces action in the state Senate, which approved a similar bill last week by an equally lopsided margin.

Eight Democrats voted for the bill, with 64 Republicans. 70 votes are needed to override a veto. The eight Democrats voting for the bill were: 

Rep. Brown, Chad [D]

Rep. Carter, Robert "Robby" [D]

Rep. Carter Sr., Wilford Dan [D]

Rep. Cormier, Mack [D]

 Rep. Johnson, Cazerrick Travis [D]

 Rep. LaCombe, Jeremy S. [D]

 Rep. Thompson, Francis C. [D]

 Rep. White, Malinda B. [D]

One Republican voted against the bill: 

 Rep. Stagni, Joseph "Joe" A. [R]

Two Republicans and a Democrat were absent and did not vote:

Rep. Cox, Kenny R. [D]

 Rep. Hilferty, Stephanie [R]

 Rep. Villio, Debbie [R]

Shortly after the vote on Constitutional Carry, the House voted unanimously for HB 124.  HB 124 removed the ban on carrying knives from people who have a concealed carry permit.  It passed 94 - 0.  It did not make sense for people to have the right to carry pistols, but not knives.

Constitutional Carry is a reasonable approximation of the state of law when the Second Amendment was ratified, in 1791. At that time, no permit was required to carry weapons, openly or concealed.

Governor John Bel Edwards has promised he would veto a Constitutional Carry bill. Then the Senate passed SB118, which is similar to HB596. It passed with a strong majority, 27 for and 11 against

Both House and Senate votes are enough to override a governor's veto. An override would require a 2/3 majority, 70 votes in the House, and 26in the Senate. 

For a number of reasons, veto overrides are often more difficult to obtain than the original votes suggest. Legislators may wish to go on record as voting for something, knowing the governor will veto it. Then they vote to uphold the veto.  There is also party loyalty involved. Many are unwilling to override a veto of a governor of their party.

It is still good strategy to attempt a veto override of a governor of the opposite party. It shows the base you are serious; it shows principle on the part of the legislators. 

For Democrats, it might show a willingness to go against the party, when their voters are more conservative. 

While an override may be a long shot, it may be work in this case.

Texas is a strong contender to pass Constitutional Carry in 2021. 

Utah, Iowa, Tennessee, and  Wyoming have all restored Constitutional carry this year. There are now 20 states with Constitutional Carry.

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