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History Made in Louisiana, but Constitutional Carry Dealt a Blow

History Made in Louisiana, but Constitutional Carry Dealt a Blow

Constitutional (or Permitless) Carry has made great strides in the gun rights communities throughout the country in the past decade. Currently, there are 21 states where this type of law regarding the carry of guns has been enacted.

It could have been 22 if Louisiana had passed it this week, but there were a lot of historic events that led to its ultimate failure in the legislature. But how did it get to this point?

Louisiana’s lawmakers passed the constitutional carry bill on June 1 with a final vote of 27 yeas and 9 nays. Edwards received the permitless carry bill from the Senate on June 6, and he vetoed it on June 24.

The bill had passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate by veto-proof majorities – meaning that even if the governor vetoed the bill, it could get sent to the House and Senate where his veto could be overruled and the bill would become law.

This is when history began to take place. Louisiana’s lawmakers called for the state’s first-ever override session in an attempt to reverse the governor’s veto. When it came time to vote again on July 20, multiple senators who voted in favor of the permitless concealed carry bill flipped their votes.

The end result was a vote of 23 yeas and 15 nays. Three Republicans – Louie Bernard, Patrick Connick, and Franklin Foil – and one Democrat – Gary Smith – switched sides on the vote in order to block the override. A fourth Republican who voted in favor of the initial bill, Ronnie Johns, was absent for the override vote due to surgery.

“At the end of the day, the legislature got it right,” Governor John Bel Edwards (D) said after the override session ended on Wednesday, July 20.

Gun-rights activist groups, however, saw things differently and did not mince words when it came to the senators who blocked the bill’s passage. The National Rifle Association (NRA) called it a “betrayal at the Capitol” and Gun Owners of America (GOA) said that their “betrayal of gun owners speaks VOLUMES, as they only voted ‘pro-gun’ earlier in the session when their votes didn’t matter.”

Despite the setback for Second Amendment advocates, history was still made in Louisiana, and it showed voters where their senators truly stand when it comes to their rights. It has long been known that Second Amendment “single-issue voters” have memories like elephants. Recognizing this to be the case, GOA rightly stated that “gun owners will remember this backstab at the ballot box.”

The four senators who changed their vote and the one senator who was absent aren’t up for re-election until 2024. This may seem like a long way off, but in the grand scheme of politics, it’s right around the corner.