Our Gun Laws Are A Mess

“On my way to church I can’t figure out which gun to bring,” thus began a popular Think 504 article about state gun laws. Now here we are 5 years later contemplating more absurdity. This legislative session, there are a number of bills attempting to make sense and nonsense out of how the state regulates guns. You might find some of these more than interesting. We look at changing gun laws in Louisiana.

For example, if somebody loses a gun or has it stolen from them, do you think they should be legally obligated to report it to the police? Given that kids are breaking into cars and stealing at record levels these days, you’d imagine that the NOPD just might find that information valuable. But state law requires no such reporting. State Rep. Mandie Landry thinks it should.

Reporting a gun lost or stolen is just one of the provisions she proposes in her bill, HB209.  Others include soon to be controversial ideas like giving certain parishes the ability to ban guns from recreational centers where kids play. Both of these would probably be widely supported in a parish like Orleans.

“This bill would allow Orleans Parish to pass gun laws that go beyond what the state currently allows,” Landry said. “Right now the city cannot do this due to state preemption laws. If this bill passes, city government would work with stakeholders to pass local laws regulating guns that the city as a whole would want to see passed.”

Presently under one of those state laws, you can bring your gun to a restaurant as long as you don’t go near the bar with it. But depending on the restaurant, you can still sit at a table and order drinks from the bar. Makes perfect nonsense. If the point is to keep your drinking life and your gun life separate, then it’s hard to figure out who this protects. The bartender? Landry’s bill gives Orleans the right to ban guns wherever alcohol is served.

Changing Gun Laws In Louisiana

Presently there’s also another law that allows the state to extort money and time from citizens by requiring a permit to conceal carry a gun. But the same citizen can openly carry one for free. In essence this means for no charge at all you can freak out everybody around you. But to give people peace of mind as they go about their day, you have to pay the government a fee? The fee is $125 for a 5 year permit, and $500 for a lifetime one. File under nonsense.

If passed, HB37 would do away with this stipulation. This bill, by state Rep. Danny McCormick, would make concealed carrying automatically legal, no fees or permits involved. In one context that makes sense. Why should you pay the government to carry a gun under your shirt?

But HB37 would apply this to anyone 18 years or older, meaning teenagers. Teenage minds are not fully developed. And They most likely doesn’t know what they want to do with the rest of their life. He could be walking around with something covertly tucked under their shirt that could end yours. More nonsense.

“I don’t like it,” Landry said. “Law enforcement as a whole is very worried about this passing, which says a lot.” We should all probably be worried about a law that allows more people to freely walk the streets with guns.

Yet presently, Republican state reps are comfortable with you bringing your gun almost anywhere. Except where you might find them, like municipal buildings or the state capitol. An exception is if a state rep’s kid happens to be on the same athletic field as your kid. Depending on where that game is held, you can legally show up with your gun, approach the rep, and discuss any legislation you want. What sense would be made of this if a plethora of citizens began trying it out?

Ultimately, the world Republicans are building is one where all guns matter. In that world, they don’t discriminate by color, casing, or whether one identifies as an assault rifle or handgun. So you’d think they would favor laws that ensure the safety and sanctity of these guns. But clearly that’s not the case.

“I wish the legislature would pass basic, common sense gun laws statewide,” Landry said. “But we know politically that just won’t happen.”

Hopefully, in the future, Landry and her fellow Democrats can proffer more bills that move the debate about changing gun laws in Louisiana closer to sense than nonsense.

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