There’s a lot of folks who seem to think this is gun control, because it changes:
Section 11. The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.
Section 11. The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
A bit further down on the original link above:
For a “Right” to “not be infringed” there can be NO “restriction” placed on it whatsoever. NONE. Privileges can have restrictions placed on them. “Rights”, as defined in the Declaration of Independence of 1776 cannot be “restricted” in any manner, as they are “unalienable,” which means not ‘alienable’….not able to be taken away, transferred or RESTRICTED…!!
This was a fear of mine, that the uninitiated would have no idea what strict scrutiny meant, legally. Now we have that, and people latching onto the word “restricted,” and interpreting this provision as some form of gun control. Nothing could be farther from the truth. By demanding strict scrutiny in the constitutional provision, it is a detailed, specific instruction to the courts to give the right the highest protection the courts currently offer when considering the scope of fundamental rights. To date, most courts have adopted intermediate scrutiny so that they may engage in balancing tests to justify numerous restrictions on the right, and the Louisiana Supreme Court effectively gutted their RKBA constitution guarantee back in 2001:
“The State of Louisiana is entitled to restrict that right for legitimate state purposes, such as public health and safety.” State v. Blanchard, 776 So.2d 1165, 1168 (La. 2001).*
So really, this is a choice between any restriction the state wants to place, which is the current status quo, or any restrictions being subject to a very high level of scrutiny by the courts. Clearly the latter here would be far better. I really hope that people will spread the word and help relieve the ignorance at work here, especially if you know folks in Louisiana, or see people spreading this.
Unfortunately, the unscrupulous among us will also see a fundraising opportunity here, and will likely play on this ignorance to drum up support for their organization. But it’s very important that this get passed, both for the sake of Louisiana, and to send a message to the federal courts about how Americans expect their rights to be treated. If this ballot measure goes down in a sea of ignorance on the part of gun owners, the other side will be guaranteed to spin this as Americans believing that harsh restrictions on state power to regulate guns is just peachy.