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Louisiana Could Have 'Strongest Second Amendment Law in the Nation' If Gun Law Ballot Question Passes
When it comes to the Second Amendment, Louisiana legislators are bringing out the biggest legal guns they can find.
For Pelican State voters, Amendment II on the Nov. 6 Ballot asks voters if they want to change the phrasing of the “Right to Bear Arms,” as it is defined in Louisiana's State Constitution.
Proponents of the measure say it will make Louisiana's defense of the Second Amendment the best in the nation. However, opponents are concerned that the new strict scrutiny measures could make it more difficult to limit gun trade, transfer or impose restrictions on concealed weapons at various venues in the future.
The original language of the State provision guaranteeing the right to bear arms (which falls under Article I, Sec. 11 or the Constitution of the State of Louisiana) reads:
“The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.”
And the phrasing has remained that way since the current Constitution was enacted back in 1974. Changes to the current law were originally proposed in Senate Bill No. 303, which was introduced by Sen. Neil Riser (R-District 32). If it had been enacted as-is, the bill would have changed that original phrasing to the following:
“The right of each citizen to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for defense of life and liberty, and for all other legitimate purposes is fundamental and shall not be denied or infringed, and any restriction shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
According to the adjoining documentation, the phrase, “strict scrutiny,” means that any attempts or possible attempts to violate this statute—as it reads in the proposed amendment—would be subject to judicial action and review to determine the constitutionality of the action.
That strict scrutiny would hold any new law to a higher standard, requiring, “a compelling government interest, being narrowly defined to achieve that intent,” according to Sen. Riser’s statements back in April, when the bill was being read for final passage in the Senate.
As the bill ran its course, the proposed legislation changed before various discussions, committee actions, and floor discussions once the bill made its way over to the house. By the time SB 303 got back to the Senate Floor for a final vote to be placed on this year’s ballot, it read a little different.
“The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
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