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Louisiana Senate Passes NRA-Backed Proposal To Amend Constitutional Gun Laws

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File: New Orleans Police Department Asst. Superintendent Warren Riley demonstrates how to install a gun lock at a news conference in New Orleans Tuesday, March 22, 2005.
File: New Orleans Police Department Asst. Superintendent Warren Riley demonstrates how to install a gun lock at a news conference in New Orleans Tuesday, March 22, 2005.

Louisiana's senate voted Monday to amend the state's constitution to make it more difficult to restrict firearms.

The proposal, backed by the NRA, drew little opposition, passing by a 31-6 vote. No one spoke against the bill on the Senate floor, the AP reported.

Louisiana's constitution currently states the "right of each citizen to keep and bear arms," but permits "passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person." The proposed bill, SB303, would remove the language about concealed weapons and guarantee the right to bear arms "for defense of life and liberty and for all other legitimate purposes."

The bill's sponsor, Neil Riser, said the language would give the state "the strongest gun protection law in the nation."

Some opponents, including several police chiefs and law enforcement groups such as the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, say they worry the proposal is too broad, and could lead to litigation over current gun laws.

State Sen. Robert Adley (R-Benton), who voted for the measure, agreed with some of the worries.

"I am trying to protect the right to bear arms but I don't want to get caught in a trap that will keep us in court for the next 100 years," he said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Higher education officials also expressed concern that the proposal would lead to guns being allowed on university campuses.

Riser said that was not the case, since schools could demonstrate a "compelling state interest" to ban weapons on their grounds.

The measure now goes to Louisiana's House. If it passes there, it will go to voters in a statewide election.

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