In surprise move, Louisiana panel backs modest limit on carrying guns at parades, other events

Gun Rights

The House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice Tuesday passed a bill that would makeit illegal to carry a concealed gun without a permit within 100 feet of a parade, second line or other permitted event. 

To the surprise of author Rep. Mandie Landry, the committee ultimately movedHouse Bill 627 forward 8-5. 

Republican Reps. Chad Boyer of Breaux Bridge, Vincent Cox of Gretna and Bryan Fontenot of Thibodaux joined Democrats in voting for the bill. 

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The bill is one of several trying to put limits on the law the legislature passed earlier this year making it legal to carry a concealed gun without a permit before that law takes effect on July 4. Landry said hers was the narrowest.  

Currently, it is illegal to carry a concealed gun “in a parade or demonstration,” but Landry said that law doesn’t appear to apply to parade attendees.  

“If you’re riding in Endymion, you can’t have a gun under this,” she said. “If I am watching in the crowd,in front of the drunk crowd in front of Superior (Grill on St. Charles Ave.), I can have a gun.” 

Originally, the bill banned permitless concealed carry 1,000 feet from a parade, but Landry lowered it to 100 feet from the center of the event. It would not apply to law enforcement officers or anyone with a concealed carry permit.  

“It has been apparent from this committee and others that gun-free zones are a no-go, Landry said.  

The National Rifle Association opposed the bill, as did Dan Zelenka with the Louisiana Shooting Association, who said he carries a gun when bringing his grandchildren to parades. 

“Yeah, you probably know if Mardi Gras is going on,” Zelenka said. “But you don’t know if some demonstration for which a permit has been issued will be going down Poydras Street during business hours. Does that 100 feet include up in the office building?” 

Opponents pointed out that it’s already illegal in Louisiana to carry a concealed firearm if a personhas a blood alcohol content of .05 or higher. 

But Rep. Joy Walters, a Shreveport Democrat,pointed out, “I don’t know a lot of people who go to parades sober.” 

When closing on her bill, Landry said she was “angry” at the comments she’d heard, asking the committee to consider all of the children along parade routes when voting on the bill. 

“In a roomful of law enforcement and lawyers to suggest ignorance of the law as a defense blows my mind,” Landry said. “If we were going to stop all the people with a gun above .05 at Mardi Gras, you couldn’t even do that with every officer in the state.” 

“This is a specific event that you can not contain,” she added. 

When the committee passed the bill, Landry laughed in surprise and said,“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what just happened in here. 

Maybe you want to take back your lecture,” replied Chair Debbie Villio, a Kenner Republican who voted against the bill.  

Landryapologized for raising her voice. 

The move came after the same committee had just voted down 5-7 another measure by Landry. 

House Bill 408 would have let people place themselves on a voluntary “Do Not Sell” list asking retailers not to sell them a gun. The measure was aimed at decreasing deaths by suicide.  


 

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