Senate Committee guts ‘constitutional carry’ bill, amending it to allow teachers to carry concealed guns at schools
BATON ROUGE, La. (LSU Manship School News Service) - A Senate committee struck provisions Wednesday, June 1 that would have allowed for permit-less concealed carry dramatically altering a bill to instead allow for teachers to carry concealed guns on school property in certain circumstances.
House Bill 37, sponsored by Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, was intended to remove current requirements that an individual must have a concealed carry permit to carry a handgun in a concealed manner in Louisiana.
An amendment proposed by Sen. Eddie Lambert, R-Gonzales, removed provisions of the bill that would have allowed for permit-less carry and inserted language that would allow for teachers to become certified to carry weapons on school grounds.
The amendment passed 8-2 Wednesday evening, with Republican Sens. Jay Morris of Monroe and Mike Reese of Leesville in opposition.
Lambert pointed to the more than 40-minute period that police in Uvalde, Texas, were delayed in entering Robb Elementary School last week during a mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.
Lambert argued that having an armed teacher inside could have mitigated the carnage, though critics around the country have asked how a teacher could stand up to a shooter with an AR-15 if police were afraid to challenge him.
Moments before the bill was discussed Wednesday, news broke of a mass shooting at a healthcare facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The amendment would allow each school to designate one or more “school protection officers,” who could be a teacher, an administrator or a retired teacher or administrator. The individual would have to have a concealed carry permit and undergo specialized training.
The identities of any teachers or administrators who become school protection officers would not be subject to public records requests, although law enforcement officers would have access to the information.
Tom Costanza, executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke against the bill.
“This bill does not promote a culture of life,” Costanza said.
McCormick would not commit to moving forward with the bill, saying in an interview that he had to review the amendments.
Last month, McCormick pulled a controversial bill criminalizing abortion after it was dramatically amended on the House floor.
McCormick did say that he would be in favor of arming teachers “in certain circumstances.”
The original bill, referred to by supporters as a “constitutional carry bill,” cleared the Senate Judiciary C Committee on the same day as the mass shooting at the Uvalde elementary school.
Louisiana, consistently a leader in murders and gun violence, is currently the top state for mass shootings per capita, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
A bill similar to McCormick’s original instrument was brought in 2021 but was vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The Legislature attempted an override but fell short of the necessary votes.
Edwards opposed the bill primarily due to the fact that it would eliminate training requirements for concealed carry.
The bill will now go to the Senate for a floor vote. If it passes the Senate, it would have to go back to the House for concurrence on amendments before the session ends on Monday.
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