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Louisiana: Firearm Legislation on the Move at the Capitol

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Louisiana: Firearm Legislation on the Move at the Capitol

Yesterday in the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee, House Bill 959 was voluntarily deferred by its sponsor, state Representative John Bagneris (D-New Orleans).  The bill carves New Orleans out from the state firearms preemption law, allowing the city council to pass any law restricting the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, or registration of firearms and ammunition that they see fit.  The author could ask for the bill to be heard at a later date; your NRA-ILA will keep you posted on any future action scheduled for this restrictive measure.

The same committee also unanimously approved House Bill 176,sponsored by state Representative Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs).  The measure establishes an expedited concealed carry permitting process for individuals who have obtained a permanent protective order against an abuser.  HB 176 will likely be considered by the full House next week, so please contact your State Representatives and urge them to support this important personal protection legislation for victims of domestic violence.


Next Wednesday, May 11, in Committee Room 6 at 9:30 a.m., the House Criminal Justice Committee is expected to reconsider House Bill 101, a bill which was involuntarily deferred last week.  Sponsored by state Representative Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport), HB 101 creates the offense of operating a motion picture theater without a metal detector or other electronic screening process for detecting (and ostensibly prohibiting) firearms carried by patrons.  Once again, please contact committee members and urge them to oppose HB 101 and defeat this misguided measure once and for all.  Also, please make plans to attend Wednesday’s hearing and sign up to speak against, or register your opposition to, HB 101 by filling out a RED card.

Also yesterday, the Senate Judiciary B Committee advanced House Bill 142, sponsored by state Representative Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia).  The bill will soon be considered by the full Senate.  A description of the legislation can be found below; please contact your state Senator and urge them to support HB 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, because the 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.) 

Please click the above “Take Action” button to contact your lawmakers about the above described bills. 

BY NRA-ILA Staff

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.