Pro-gun bills approved by LA house committee



Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, holds up a sticker in response to questioning by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, during the House Criminal Justice Committee's discussion of House Bill 8 on Wednesday, April 17, at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – With gun control being debated at the federal level, Louisiana lawmakers advanced a batch of bills Wednesday they say are aimed at pre-empting any stricter gun laws that could make it out of Congress.

In heated exchanges over five hours of debate, the House Criminal Justice Committee approved an array of “state’s rights” gun regulations, including bills that would:

-Prohibit the enforcement of any federal restrictions on owning semi-automatic weapons. A requirement that the state attorney general’s office represents those who may be arrested for having federally prohibited guns was amended out of the bill.

-Make it a felony to release or publish the names and addresses of people who own or have applied for concealed handgun permits.

-Create the “Louisiana Manufactured Firearms and Ammunition Act” that would allow gun buyers to circumvent any federal gun laws as long as the guns were manufactured in Louisiana.

Of his proposal, Republican committee chairman Joe Lopinto said, “I really hope we don’t need this. It’s all about state’s right.”

The bills now head to the full House for further debate.

The criminal justice committee debated 11 firearm-related bills that left no doubt to the stance of a majority of committee members on efforts to tighten gun laws. They were not having it.

“Don’t Like Guns? Don’t Buy One,” was the message Rep. Terry Brown, an Independent from Colfax, had plastered on his laptop cover that was visible to the audience.

Conversely, a majority of the committee voted down two proposed bills they perceived as infringing on current gun laws.

The measures would have required gun owners to keep guns in a locked container or apply a safety lock when the gun was not in use and would have required prospective gun buyers to take a safety course before the purchase.