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Apr 4, 2012 7:18 PM by Maddie Garrett

Proposed Bill Would Rewrite Louisiana's "Right to Bear Arms"

The right to bear arms, and it's core values, will now go to discussion on Louisiana's state senate floor as part of Senate Bill 303.

Senator Neil Riser's bill would change the wording of Louisiana's Constitution, making it harder for lawmakers to pass restrictions on people's right to own and carry a weapon. It could also call into question the 83 regulatory laws already on the books.

The Louisiana District Attorney's Association (LDAA) is leary of the proposed changes.

"We're just fearful that all of this language will result in suits seeking to have all of those bills declared unconstitutional and we will have to defend those suits as mandatory defendants," said LDAA Executive Director E. Pete Adams.

Those lawsuits would cost the state money and could open the door to allow guns on school campuses, bars and churches.

At the center of the issue is moving the burden of proof for the right to bear arms from the citizen to the state. And that's right on target with gun rights proponents.

"I'm very much in favor to the proposed changes in the wording of the constitution in this regard," said Mark LeBlanc, Director of Operations at Barney's Police Supply.

LeBlanc is a former police officer and said he believes any restrictions on the right to bear arms should be strictly scrutinized, and that lawmakers should be held to tougher standards when passing those restrictions.

"I think in the final analysis, it will not open a flood gate. It will only require the state to prove an interest in this restriction, which I think in many, many existing circumstances the state will be able to prove," he explained.

The bill has passed a senate judiciary panel and will likely go to the full senate next week. SB 303 will need two-thirds support in both the House and Senate and approval from voters in a statewide election before becoming law.

 

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