UPDATE 07/16/2021: Louisiana legislators have voted to hold the first Veto Override Session in 50 years. See 2021 Louisiana Veto Override Session Announcement below.
Louisiana – -(AmmoLand.com)- When both chambers of the Louisiana legislature passed Constitutional Carry, most pundits expected Governor John Bel Edwards to veto SB 118. According to several people in the know, the Governor is now protecting his veto by offering favors and making threats to elected representatives.
The bill would allow any person who is not prohibited by law to carry a concealed firearm anywhere the citizen can open carry a gun. A resident of the state could not carry a firearm in a gun-free zone and still would need a permit to carry a gun in a restaurant or within 1,000’ of a school. The current concealed carry permit system would remain in place, and most people will still choose to get a permit to expand the areas that they are permitted to carry a gun and for reciprocity with other states.
A lot of gun rights advocates see the Constitutional Carry Bill as more of a start than the perfect pro-gun bill. Anti-gun groups claim that the bill would make Louisiana a more dangerous place. In the 21 states that have passed some form of Constitutional Carry, there hasn’t been an uptick in crimes committed with guns or firearm-related accidents.
When a bill is vetoed in Louisiana, it triggers a veto override session unless the members of the legislature agree NOT to hold one. Right now, it appears that there is an excellent chance that the first-ever veto override session will happen in Louisiana this month.
The Constitutional Carry Bill passed in both the House and the Senate by a veto-proof majority with several Democrats crossing party lines and voting for the pro-gun bill. It should be a slam dunk for the Governor’s veto to be overridden, but weak Republican leadership and suggested back-room deals are in play to jeopardize Constitutional Carry in the Pelican State.
In The House, SB 118 passed with every Republican voting for the Senate bill with the exceptions of Joseph Stagni, who voted no, and Stephanie Hilferty, who was absent for the vote. Hilferty currently opposes Constitutional Carry. Six Democrats joined Republicans in backing the Constitutional Carry bill.
Clay Schexnayder is the current Republican Speaker of The House, but only 22 Republicans out of 68 voted for him to be the Speaker. Schexnayder relied on votes by the Democrats to get the leadership position. The Speaker hasn’t been a strong supporter of gun rights, and it calls into question whether the Speaker is willing to go head-to-head with Governor Edwards over the Constitutional Carry bill.
More disturbing are accusations of deals being struck behind the scenes with members of the House and the Governor to block a veto override and kill Constitutional Carry.
George Peterson of PDW Solutions went on record with AmmoLand News, stating that Republican Patrick Connick has agreed to vote against an override of the Governor’s veto in return for funding for the Roosevelt Overpass. The budget for that project is in the millions of dollars. Two other sources also claim that Connick directly told them the same thing. The sources stated that the Governor had a meeting with Connick and the Democrats that voted for Constitutional Carry in the past few days.
According to the sources, five of the six Democrats in the House [that originally voted yes for the constitutional carry bill] will not vote to override the Governor’s veto putting the chance of Constitutional Carry in Louisiana in jeopardy. Connick also told AmmoLand News that he plans to vote against overriding the Governor’s veto. After speaking to his police chiefs, Connick states that he no longer supports Constitutional Carry because it would make Louisiana a more dangerous place. Yet he claims he is still pro-gun rights…!?
When pushed on the data showing that an increase in gun deaths hasn’t been the case in states with Constitutional Carry, he stated that he doesn’t believe in statistics, and other states with Constitutional Carry don’t have cities the size of New Orleans. Phoenix currently has 1.3 million more people than New Orleans.
Connick denied making any deals with the Governor but did say that Edwards has brought a lot of projects to his district. He also highlighted his friendship with Governor Edwards and stated that Edwards is a good man and is a good Catholic. He feels the Governor is being dragged through the mud over Constitutional Carry.
Republican Ronnie Johns was absent for the bill’s initial passage, but he voted yes for the concurrence. Since that time, he has decided NOT to back Constitutional Carry in the veto override session. The Governor recently appointed Johns to a lucrative position on the Gaming Commission. There isn’t concrete evidence tying the appointment to the vote on Constitutional Carry, but several gun rights activists have questioned the timing for the appointment.
The Senate President is Page Cortez. Cortez has not shown support of Constitutional Carry and could slow play the veto override session to run out the clock on taking up the bill. According to the Hay Ride, Cortez is not actually in favor of the session, but grassroots efforts have forced his hands.
Since SB 118 is a Senate bill, it will have to come out of the Senate during the veto override session. Some gun-rights activists worry that Cortez will never call up the Constitutional Carry bill for a veto override. Nothing in the Louisiana Constitution requires all vetoed bills to be voted on during a veto override session, and the Senate President controls what bills are heard during the session.
Governor Edwards has always claimed to be a blue dog pro-gun Democrat, but he has made a hard turn to the left by vetoing Constitutional Carry and a bill protecting women’s
sports in his lame-duck term. Some have openly wondered if the Governor is auditioning for another position with the Biden Administration?
Constitutional Carry in Louisiana is not dead but will take a massive grassroots effort to force Louisiana politicians to keep their promise to the state’s gun owners. If you support Constitutional Carry for Louisiana, the deadline for an up-or-down vote to hold the override session ends tonight, 7/15/2021, so call your representative or contact them on social media.
2021 Louisiana Veto Override Session Announcement
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or www.crumpy.com.