Yesterday, April 7, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee reported out House Bill 693 on an 8-6 vote. Sponsored by state Representative Jimmy Harris (D-New Orleans), HB 693 would prohibit the possession of firearms on property used as a public park, playground or recreational facility. Although the measure was amended to exempt out state parks and WMAs, and the ban no longer applies to concealed carry permit holders, NRA remains opposed to this measure.
The prohibited areas listed in the measure are not clearly defined. Open carry is lawful in the State of Louisiana, and the ban would apply to someone exercising this right. No effective notice is required to be given to alert anyone that they have crossed into an area that would be off-limits under this law. Criminals won’t be deterred by the establishment of another “gun-free zone” under state law – and make no mistake: if this bill passes, gun control advocates will come back in future sessions with a laundry list of additional areas in which they want to restrict the lawful possession of firearms.
House Bill 693 will soon be voted on by the full House of Representatives, possibly by the middle of next week. It is critical that you contact your State Representative and urge them to OPPOSE House Bill 693.
Also yesterday, the committee unanimously reported out NRA-backed House Bill 142. Sponsored by state Representative Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia), HB 142 will also be voted on by the full House next week. A description of the legislation can be found below; please contact your State Representative and urge them to SUPPORT House Bill 142.
Federal law prohibits the possession or receipt of firearms by a person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. An exception to this provides that any conviction which has been expunged, set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this ban, unless such pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Under Louisiana law, a person convicted of a felony who had his conviction expunged, or set aside or had been pardoned or had civil rights restored was entitled to purchase and possess firearms.
In 2014, ATF and FBI began notifying affected parties that because Louisiana prohibits persons convicted of a felony from obtaining concealed carry permits, the "unless" clause mentioned above is triggered. In other words, becausethe state restricts the ability of persons convicted of a felony to carry firearms concealed, those persons remain prohibited to purchase or possess guns under federal law -- even if they have received pardons, had convictions set aside, gotten expungements or had their civil rights restored. The agencies relied on a 16-year old court case for this new interpretation of the "unless" clause, which seems to fly in the face of restoration of rights provisions under both federal and state law. Many among the affected parties legally purchased and owned firearms for years prior to this new finding.
HB 142 amends the state's concealed carry law to account for cases where a "cleansing period" has elapsed and an expungement has been obtained, or a gubernatorial pardon has been issued (unless the pardon expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess or receive firearms.)
Again, click the “Take Action” button above to contact your state Representative and politely urge them to SUPPORT House Bill 142 and to OPPOSE House Bill 693 when they come up for a vote.