BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bill allowing concealed handgun permit holders and off-duty police officers to come armed to restaurants serving alcohol has the backing of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

The committee voted 9-4 to advance the bill Wednesday.

Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto says he sponsored the measure to clear up confusion about who can carry a gun into a restaurant serving alcohol.

The law regulating gun possession in places serving alcohol exempts the establishment's owner and employees and on-duty police officers. However, a separate law regulating concealed handgun permits says permit holders can carry in restaurants serving alcohol.

Lopinto's proposal seeks to extend the exemption to include off-duty officers and concealed handgun permit holders.

New Iberia Rep. Terry Landry, a former police officer and state trooper, opposed the bill, saying guns and alcohol don't mix.

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