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Concealed Guns in Schools: A New Bill Sparks Debate in Louisiana

What is the bill about?

A new bill that would allow adults 18 and older to carry concealed guns without a permit has passed the Louisiana Senate on Thursday and is now headed to the House. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Blake Miguez, is one of several measures that aim to address violent crime in the state during a special session. The bill would also grant immunity from civil liability to anyone who uses a concealed firearm in self-defense.

Miguez and other supporters of the bill argue that it would uphold the constitutional right to bear arms and empower citizens to protect themselves and their families from criminals. They point out that 27 other states, including all of Louisiana’s neighbors, have similar laws that allow permitless concealed carry.

What are the arguments against the bill?

Opponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, say that it would endanger public safety and increase the risk of gun violence. They cite the high rate of gun-related deaths in Louisiana, which was the second-highest in the nation in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also express concern about the impact of the bill on schools, where guns would be allowed with the written permission of a principal or other authority.

Concealed Guns in Schools: A New Bill Sparks Debate in Louisiana

The bill has also faced opposition from law enforcement groups, such as the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police, which wrote a letter to lawmakers urging them to reject the bill. The letter stated that the bill would make it harder for police officers to identify armed suspects and could lead to more accidental shootings and suicides.

How does the bill compare to other states’ laws?

According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, a pro-gun advocacy group, 27 states currently allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, also known as constitutional carry. These states vary in their regulations regarding where and how people can carry guns, such as age limits, background checks, training requirements, and restrictions on certain places like schools, bars, and government buildings.

Some of the states that have enacted constitutional carry laws in recent years include Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Montana, and Iowa. Some of these states have also passed laws that prevent local governments from enforcing stricter gun regulations than the state.

What are the next steps for the bill?

The bill, along with another one that would expand the methods of execution for death row inmates, passed the Senate with a party-line vote of 23-14. The bills now move to the House, where Republicans hold a two-thirds supermajority. Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, has indicated that he would sign the bills if they reach his desk.

The special session, which began on Monday, is expected to last until March 10. Lawmakers are also considering other bills that would toughen penalties for certain crimes, mandate that 17-year-olds be tried as adults for felonies, and restrict or eliminate parole opportunities for some offenders.


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