Election Coverage

Oct 17, 2012 7:50 PM by Maddie Garrett

Amendment 2 Could Expand Where Gun Owners Can Carry Concealed Weapon

The right to bear arms will be up to voters on November 6th as the public will decide on whether or not to pass Amendment 2. It deals with gun rights, and if passed, would delete the provision in Louisiana's Constitution that allows lawmakers to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons.

Proponents of the amendment say it could expand gun rights, putting the burden of restriction on the State. Supporters say it could guard against possible future rulings about the second amendment. Amendment 2 would require the government to justify a law that would restrict a person's right to carry a concealed weapon in any way. That justification would come from a process called "strict scrutiny."

But opponents to Amendment 2 say that "strict scrutiny" could be a slippery slope, because it could open up the door to carrying guns on school campuses, churches and sporting events. They worry any current restrictions could be challenged in court.

"I'm an army veteran, I'm a Vietnam veteran, served one year in Vietnam, spent three years in the military, spent 27 years in State Police, over 30 years in law enforcement. I'm a gun owner, I believe in the 2nd Amendment," said State Rep. Terry Landry. (D-Lafayette)

By the sound of it, you would think Representative Landry would be for Amendment 2. But he's not.

"This piece of legislation, which does many things, none of which I think is good, but it limits prohibiting people's ability to where you can carry a gun," said Landry.

He said this amendment is not about the right to bare arms, but about a fundamental change in how laws are put in place.

"Strict scrutiny, is what it's called, and the strict scrutiny, it really challenges, not challenge, but limits legislators' ability to have restrictions on where you can carry concealed handguns," he explained.

As a former law enforcement officer, Landry said he's worried about public safety if this amendment should pass.

"Why would would you want a gun at a Mardi Gras parade on Jefferson Street? Why would you want a gun at Tiger Stadium with people carrying a concealed handgun?" Landry asked.

And he believes Louisiana is being used as a testing ground to see how far special interest groups can go.

"This is a piece of legislation for a national organization who represents gun manufacturers and where has there been an outcry for people to carry guns in Louisiana," said Landry.

Still, supporters of the amendment believe it would further protect and expand gun rights in Louisiana, as Mark LeBlanc with Barney's Police Supplies told KATC last week: "It solidifies those rights to be protected from arbitrary, random government decisions."

Here is the official ballot wording for Amendment 2:
Do you support an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Louisiana to provide that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and any restriction of that right requires the highest standard of review by a court?

A "yes" vote would change the Constitution and make gun laws less restrictive in regards to where you can carry a concealed weapon. A "no" vote would keep things as is. The amendment would not effect concealed handgun licenses.

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