Oklahoma’s recent open carry law included a number of caveats (e.g., license holders only). The restrictions were permissible under Oklahoma State Constitution (relevant bit italicized for effect): “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.” In 1879, Louisiana legislators did something similar: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. This shall not prevent the passage of laws to punish those who carry weapons concealed.” Later today, Louisianians may remove that codicil. All hell will break loose, according to some . . .
First here’s the wording of the ballot initiative in front of voters in Sportsman’s Paradise:
Any laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms would be subject to the highest level of judicial review, known as strict scrutiny. Also, the amendment would say that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental one in Louisiana. It would delete a line in the Constitution that says the right to keep and bear arms shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons.
In other words, if Question Two gets a thumbs-up, Louisiana gun rights advocates would be free to challenge a whole host of restrictions on firearms freedoms. And the legislature’s hands would be tied in terms of any future restrictions of gun rights.
If this amendment passes, then its proponents will quickly turn to the courts of this state to do their “dirty work” and strike down present criminal laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent felons and off school campuses, which they could not accomplish through the ordinary democratic process . . .
I do not want to take away your gun. Furthermore, I am not opposing any of the multitudes of existing protections you presently have to possess your weapon. I am trying to ensure that if you are at a Saints game or a Mardi Gras parade with your kids that you are not surrounded by hoards of people — including convicted felons — who are legally entitled to carry a concealed weapon without a background check or safety training.
Additionally, I am trying to ensure that when police encounter such individuals they retain the ability to distinguish the “good guys” from the “bad guys” and the legal authority to act accordingly before the shooting begins.
Imagine that! Hoards of people carrying guns without a background check or safety training! Cops who can’t stop citizens simply to determine if they’re legally armed or not! What kind of world would that be?
By the way: all of this is moot. The Constitution of the United States of America trumps local and state law. In theory. In practice, Louisiana citizens are well advised to take care of their own. As—let’s face it—they always have. [h/t RKBA]