Naturally, groups like the National Rifle Association have been hard-at-work promoting constitutional amendment no. 2 to the state's voters, calling it the "Gold Standard for Gun Rights."
According to NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, the pro-gun group says Louisiana's existing gun law is "defective."
Referencing the law's current language, NRA argues:
The present Louisiana Constitution says that the right to bear arms shall not be "abridged," except that "this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit" carrying a concealed weapon. This wording is so faulty that it leaves open the possibility of regulation by the state of carrying concealed even in one's own home. Further, the Louisiana Supreme Court has said that the right may be restricted if a majority in the legislature thinks it "reasonable" to do so. When it comes to rights, the standard to restrictions must be higher."
What's interesting is that if passed, the new law would become subject to what is called "strict scrutiny" — the greatest protection afforded a constitutional right — which is typically reserved for rights that are considered "fundamental," like the right to vote and the right to free speech.
Though not against the right to bear, the Council for A Better Louisiana is against amendment no. 2, according to its website.
For one, CABL calls out NRA's claim that under the current law, the state Legislature could conceivably enact stricter regulations against gun owners. Considering Louisiana's stance on the issue, that scenario is very unlikely
In a release outlining its positions on the various amendments included on November's ballot, CABL lists thee three major changes included in amendment no. 2, and explains the bottom-line reason for its opposition to those changes:
1. It broadens the current right to “keep and bear” arms to include the right to acquire, possess, carry, transfer and use firearms.
2. It removes language in our constitution that allows the Legislature to pass laws dealing with carrying concealed weapons.
3. It adds language saying that any restriction on the fundamental right to bear arms is subject to “strict scrutiny” by the courts.
So what is our specific concern? Basically, it’s that if this amendment passes, one could foresee a situation where a student or someone else charged with carrying a firearm on a college campus could challenge the constitutionality of the gun-free campus restriction, thus leaving it to the courts to decide under a new and much higher standard of scrutiny if our current law is too restrictive. Would that happen? No one knows, but CABL feels strongly, in agreement with our universities, that the combination of guns and still maturing students is not a good mix. Opening the possibility that that might occur is not a risk we wish to take.
For more on NRA's stance in favor of amendment no. 2, click here.
Go here to read CABL's argument against amendment no. 2, and its stance on the remaining eight amendments to be voted on in November.