Ballot Initiative of the Day: Will Louisiana Expand Gun Rights?

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Louisiana–one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation–may make its gun rights even stronger on November 6. The state legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment that any law restricting the right to keep and bear arms would be “subject to strict scrutiny,” meaning any attempt to restrict gun laws would become more difficult and that it could be nearly impossible to prohibit concealed carry.Governor Bobby Jindal pegged his support of the proposed amendment to Hurricane Katrina in an op-ed for the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. “Folks were in their homes with no electricity, no power, no 911 service, and reports of looters going door to door,” he stated. “Instead of protecting freedom, government officials went door to door, confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens. We just can’t let that happen again.” The US Constitution’s Second Amendment rights “hang in the balance,” he said.

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro thinks the amendment goes too far. “This amendment will place in extreme constitutional jeopardy our present law that requires gun owners to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon,” he explained at a news conference last week. The Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) sides with Cannizzaro despite its support of gun rights because schools would be at a particular risk. “It’s that if this amendment passes, one could foresee a situation where a student or someone else charged with carrying a firearm on a college campus could challenge the constitutionality of the gun-free campus restriction, thus leaving it to the courts to decide under a new and much higher standard of scrutiny if our current law is too restrictive,” the CABL argued in a statement. “Opening the possibility that that might occur is not a risk we wish to take.”