Louisiana's New Gun Law: Concealed Carry, No Permit Or Training

Gun Violence

A bill that will allow Louisiana residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry. The bill would also remove current requirements for new gun owners to have their fingerprints taken and attend a training course on firearm safety. Landry has already indicated he intends to sign this bill into law.

The Republican governor is also set to sign a new batch of “tough on crime” bills authored and approved by a GOP-dominated state Legislature. These bills increase the number of crimes that are subject to prison sentences and lengthen sentences for existing crimes.

Louisiana currently has the second-highest incarceration rate in the nation. It also has the second-highest firearm mortality rate and the second-highest homicide rate. How are Republican legislators addressing these issues? By putting more people in prison and increasing potential gun violence.

When you add in people held in local jails, Louisiana has the nation’s highest overall rate of imprisonment. Thanks to relatively low spending per prisoner, it doesn’t make the top 10 when it comes to the overall cost of incarceration. However, it still manages to blow through better than $1 billion per year on correctional facilities.

The new legislation would add 60 crimes to the list of those ineligible for probation or a suspended sentence, ensuring that every conviction results in prison time. It would also increase the time prisoners must serve before they are eligible for parole.

The new legislation also makes juvenile court records public, even though they are typically sealed to protect minors. That means even a crime committed as a juvenile will now be visible to potential employers and others for the rest of a young offender’s life.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature is also pushing through a permitless concealed carry law that dumps the state’s previous requirements for training. An 11-state study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that dropping training requirements for those carrying concealed weapons resulted in an average of 21 additional gun assaults per 100,000 population.

Considering how closely Louisiana trails Mississippi for the top spot in gun deaths (28.6 gun deaths per 100,000 population in Mississippi vs. 26.3 per 100,000 in Louisiana) this seems like just the ticket to move the Bayou State to the top of the chart.

For comparison, Louisiana’s rate of gun deaths is three times greater than California's and almost five times greater than New York’s. But then, those states both require permits.

Meanwhile, as it prepares to spend more money on prisons, Louisiana turned down federal funds to feed 594,000 hungry children this summer and falls 20% below the national average on spending for education.

Still, Landry is looking at one cost-cutting move to shorten some prison sentences: The governor reportedly wants to add hydrogen gas as a death row execution method and make electrocutions a thing again.

Maybe he’ll try using both at once. Oh, the humanity.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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