Nearly half-a-million Louisianans who reside in, conduct business in, or regularly travel to New Orleans will soon be confronted with an unlawful and unabashed political attack on their Second Amendment rights. On April 22, 2016, anti-gun Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, unveiled new gun control initiatives that—abetted by the City Council—he plans to impose upon the City of New Orleans. Since that day, Mayor Landrieu’s widely panned attempt to violate state law and the rights of law-abiding gun owners has garnered significant negative attention, and rightfully so. Not only do many of the proposed measures violate multiple sections of the Louisiana Code, but Mayor Landrieu, himself, admitted that the most egregious of the initiatives would NOT deter crime but would raise awareness among law-abiding gun owners of their “responsibilities.” Despite the fact that implementation of these ordinances will almost certainly subject the city to taxpayer-funded litigation, the New Orleans City Council—at Mayor Landrieu’s beckoning—will potentially consider these proposals as soon as next week. Your urgent action is required. Please contact members of the New Orleans City Council and respectfully urge them to oppose this misguided affront to your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Mayor Landrieu must believe that appearing to attack your gun rights is politically advantageous in the Big Easy. It is the only logical explanation for his proposal to adopt ordinances that mirror state law, but lessen the penalties for violation. Unfortunately, for Mayor Landrieu, the City Council and criminals, state law prohibits localities from lessening penalties for state law felonies. Section 14:143 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes provides, “no governing authority of a political subdivision shall enact an ordinance defining as an offense conduct that is defined and punishable as a felony under state law.” Yet, that is exactly what NOLA politicians are attempting to do with the enactment of proposed Sections 54-359 and 54-360. Both “Possession of or dealing in firearms without serial numbers” and “Possession of a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon by a person convicted of domestic abuse battery” are felonies pursuant to La. Stat. Ann. §§ 14:95.7 and14:95.10, respectively.
If the Council believes that the illegalities end with those two apparent violations, they are mistaken in that belief as well. Fortunately for Louisiana gun owners, your NRA-ILA and the Louisiana Legislature, long ago, had the foresight to protect against arbitrary and politically motivated attacks on your gun rights by overzealous, anti-gun local politicians. Section 40:1796 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes provides, “No governing authority of a political subdivision shall enact . . . any ordinance or regulation more restrictive than state law concerning in any way the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition . . . .” Accordingly, Mayor Landrieu’s attempt to expand “Firearm-free” zones to include over 100 parks and recreation centers (New Orleans Recreation Development Commission campuses) across the city is clearly an unlawful restriction on law-abiding individual’s right to possess a firearm for self-defense. This violation is made even more egregious by the fact that Mayor Landrieu admitted that prohibiting firearms in the locations would do little to deter criminals who were intent to commit crimes. Such laws, even if it were legal, simply disarm law-abiding gun owners and subject them to potential victimization.
And, we cannot overlook the “Reporting lost or stolen firearms” proposal which singularly targets law-abiding gun owners while having absolutely zero applicability to individuals who possess firearms illegally. Constitutional protections against government-compelled self-incrimination (a.k.a. the Fifth Amendment) would absolve a criminal who unlawfully possesses a firearm from the requirement to report a lost or stolen firearm. However, the law-abiding gun owner would not receive such constitutional protections.