Will Republican ‘red wave’ expand concealed carry gun rights in Louisiana?

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State Rep. Danny McCormick said he will ride a “red wave” of GOP dominance next year to finally pass his bill that would allow adults 18 and older to carry concealed handguns without a permit or training.

The Oil City Republican has tried four times to expand Louisiana’s concealed carry gun rights, but once had his bill vetoed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and three times saw it stall in the Senate.

But McCormick said this fall’s elections that expanded Republicans’ supermajorities in both the House and Senate and vaulted GOP Gov.-elect Jeff Landry into office should clear the way for his signature bill.

“This unprecedented Republican dominance, with 73 seats in the House and 28 in the Senate, along with conservative Gov. Jeff Landry at the helm, illustrates the strength of our fight for liberty and yearning for real conservative change,” McCormick wrote in a fund-raising email to supporters.

“This session, I plan to sponsor and pass a clean Constitutional Carry bill that respects the Second Amendment rights of all Louisiana citizens,” the email continued. “No more compromising with the Baton Rouge establishment. No more watered-down versions of good legislation.”

He will almost certainly have the support of the projected new House Speaker Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, who voted for previous versions of the bill.

Supporters of McCormick’s legislation refer to it as “constitutional carry” because they believe the Second Amendment already grants that right. Louisiana already allows for constitutional carry but requires a permit and training.

“It puts law-abiding citizens on equal footing with criminals,” Kelby Seanor of the National Rifle Association has said. “It removes the burden to exercise a constitutional right.”

But opponents, like those from Moms Demand Action and the Louisiana Chiefs of Police who testified against the bill last year, said concealed carry without the training and permits required now make the streets more dangerous for citizens and police.

Louisiana is already an “open carry” state, which means people can carry visible firearms without a permit or training.

Twenty-seven states already permit a form of concealed carry, including all of Louisiana’s neighbors.

“We should trust people with their rights,” McCormick said in an interview with USA Today Network.

McCormick said the bill is particularly important to him because he wants his four granddaughters to be able to protect themselves as adults.

Last fall McCormick posted a video of himself and one of his 6-year-old granddaughters on his Facebook page featuring the AR-15 she used to kill her first deer in November.

“She used an AR-15, which my anti-gun people like to call assault weapons, but as you can see (she) uses it to hunt with,” McCormick said in the video. “We’re so proud of her.”

More: Louisiana rep whose granddaughter uses AR-15 rifle files concealed carry expansion

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

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