SB 303: Did Louisiana Set Precedence to Ensure American’s Second Amendment Rights?
By: Bob Paine
“Waking Americans, one Patriot at a time”
With little debate, the Louisiana State Senate, with a vote of 31 to 6 passed a strong Constitutional Amendment on April 9, 2012, that would fortify the right to keep and bear arms for the citizens of Louisiana. Currently in the State House of Representatives, SB 303 was referred to the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee for further consideration.
Senator Neil Riser (R-32), who introduced the bill said, “We would have the strongest Second Amendment law in the nation if we pass this”. Senator Riser faced little resistance before the full Senate while no one spoke against the bill on the Senate floor. In contrast, legislators participated on the Senate floor arguing in favor of Riser’s bill.
At this time, the re-engrossed amendment provides: Section 11. The right of each citizen to acquire, keep, and bear, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for defense of life and liberty, and for all other legitimate purposes is fundamental and shall not be denied or infringed, and any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny. (bold print represents proposed additions/revisions to existing law).
The bill as proposed removes the language that specifies to “not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person…” Currently, residents can carry concealed with an approved permit.
With the measure in the House, the new law will take a two-thirds vote of a 105-member House to pass which will then go to the voters in the November 6, 2012 election. The official ballot verbiage as proposed to the electorate would read as follows:
Do you support an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Louisiana to protect as fundamental the right of individuals to keep and bear arms? (Amends Article I, Section 11)
Riser’s amendment is deemed necessary due to the Louisiana Supreme Court’s evisceration with the current right to keep and bear arms provision. This action in 2001 left little protection for Louisianans from an overreaching state-imposed gun control order or should the Heller or McDonald cases be overturned. Should the courts be asked to hear cases, “Strict scrutiny” is considered to be a tougher legal hurdle requiring the courts to determine whether the state’s gun laws would demonstrate “a compelling governmental interest” and are “narrowly defined”.
There were concerns that the new law could lead to guns allowed on campuses but Riser quelled the concerns citing that schools could demonstrate a “compelling state interest” to ban weapons on their grounds.
Currently, Louisianans are protected by both a Castle Doctrine which includes a Stand Your Ground law. Additionally, a workplace protection law prohibits employers from firing workers who have a gun stored and locked in a vehicle parked at the workplace as well as a law protecting firing ranges. Also, a preemptive law that prohibits county and municiple governments from enacting gun laws more restrictive than state law. Open carry is permissible and there are no other restrictions such as gun bans, waiting periods for purchase of guns, no license, registering or permit required to purchase guns. However guns are banned in jails, courtrooms, airports, parades or demonstrations, schools, churches or places that serve alcohol.
In today’s political climate, the Second Amendment is under fire from all political spectrums, but none as frantic as the progressives. And currently, there are many deceptions being fed the public to redirect attention away from a failed administration whose main goal is to “fundamentally change America”. This latest attempt at protecting gun ownership by Louisiana’s Legislature has so far managed to pass under progressive radars and a narrative-toting media. But make no mistake; they are aware that the successful passing by the electorate could change the entire dialogue on a nation-wide scale. And soon, the usual suspects will likely bill this as another evil Conservative plot of genocide against minorities.
November 6 is the election of our lives when it comes to a government, “of, by and for the people”. But in Louisiana, it will include a fundamental right under attack by a progressive ideology that is destroying the very fabric of this country. It’s time to put the argument of a citizen’s rights protected in the Second Amendment to rest. May Louisianans lead the way in protecting a nation’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.