Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 334 that will grant concealed carry permit holders more rights to carry in church. Rep. Bryan Fontenot, a former Thibodaux police officer, sponsored the bill, which passed the House with a veto-proof majority of 71-24. It would require 70 votes to override the governor's veto if he decided to trash the legislation.
"It's a sad day when we have to have a discussion about how we protect ourselves when we bow our head," Rep Fontenot remarked during the passing of the bill.
The existing laws in Louisiana imposed various restrictions on carrying while in church. Firearm owners could only carry after the approval of the church pastor. Additionally, they were required to inform other members of the congregation. Armed congregants also needed an extra 8 hours in tactical training from an entity that oversees the religious organization.
The new law will still allow religious leaders to decide on whether to allow firearms within their organizations, according to Rep. Fontenot, who sponsored the bill. Under the new law, the congregation does not need to be informed.
However, Rep. Joe Marino, a criminal defense lawyer, disputes that the religious leaders have any power to prohibit firearms within their places of worship. Rep Marino says the new language repeals "in their entirety" all the requirements under which someone was allowed to carry in a place of worship.
The governor is yet to sign two more pro-Second Amendment bills, which also passed with veto-proof majorities.
House Bill 140 strengthens the state's preemption law. The legislation seeks to make it impossible for local authorities to enforce gun control in places other than those listed in the state law. The bill would affect various local councils such as Baton Rouge, Kenner, and Mandeville that already had such restrictions in place. The bill passed with 70-28 votes.
Rep. Blake Miguez said the law would prevent law-abiding gun owners from becoming felons by merely crossing a city boundary.
"We have to weigh those rights against the small inconveniences to local authorities," Miguez said.
House Bill 781 seeks to prevent law enforcement agents and local authorities from banning the sale of firearms and ammunition during emergencies. Rep Miguez also sponsored the bill, which passed with 80-17 votes.
It is unlikely that the Democratic Gov. Edwards would veto any of the measures given the little chance he has of succeeding, given the overwhelming support of the laws.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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