Good News for RKBA from Louisiana

Sorry for the lack of posting today. In the office for a meeting today to discuss the plan for the final push on my project. But in other news, looks like Louisiana is on track to have the strongest right to keep and bear arms language yet. The bill is now cleared the house, and Governor Jindal supports it. It’s on to the people of Louisiana next.

“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.”

This is in response to the Louisiana Supreme Court essentially gutting their own state right to bear arms provision which currently reads:

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. 

I consider projects like this important for a couple of reasons. For one, it reminds the courts what the people think their right means. Two, it’s batting practice in the event we end up having to do this federally because Obama manages to replace one of the Heller Five, and the Second Amendment is essentially read out of the constitution entirely, or narrowed into effective meaninglessness. Three, it demonstrates to our opponents that we can indeed do this, putting to rest any argument that this is an antiquated right which is unimportant to the people.

6 thoughts on “Good News for RKBA from Louisiana”

  1. “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.”

    While this may be an improvement, and thus send important messages (to go unheeded) it is still weasel-worded: “We’ll think real hard, and only then will we violate your rights.” When you consider how absent of weasel-words Pennsylvania’s RKBA guarantee has always been, while going consistently ignored, it seems like this was one more exercise to provide a false sense of something accomplished, and to thereby keep gun rights advocates pacified for awhile.

    Was this an election year exercise by people needing to punch up their RKBA bona fides?

    1. I figured out the purpose of this important change: Since it will require approval by referendum, it is intended to get reliable Republican voters to the polls for the election. It accomplishes nothing else, and probably none of its sponsors really care if it passes referendum or not.

    2. There’s been an attempt to get a much stronger version of this passed in Iowa, but it ran into a hurdle because it was strong enough that it would make the state constitutional carry by fiat. Iowa and Louisiana have the same NRA lobbyist. Fail in one state, see if you can push it in another with different language that has better chance of passage. The lobbyists who are good at what they do seem to experiment and try to find a working formula.

      The lobbyist for Arizona and Wyoming are the same person too, and both those states passed Constitutional Carry, but it was tried once and failed in Wyoming, then worked in Arizona, then Wyoming did end up passing a constitutional carry bill for citizens (though not for non-citizens, which isn’t perfect, but progress).

      As to whether the GOP was willing to go along because they want to turn people out, could be. But there’s not much chance Louisiana is going to go blue. Though, it could help down ticket races. Either way, I’m not much concerned with why the GOP wants to do it, as long as they do it. If they have a good election related reason for running a bill that moves the ball forward, I’m not opposed to taking advantage of that.

      1. While I sure wouldn’t fight this change, I still have to apologize for not getting too excited anymore about words on paper. I’ll return to my original point which was, that while Pennsylvania’s Article I, Section 21 of our constitution is far, far better than even the improved amendment proposed for Louisiana, it still has never proven to be a slam-dunk (or even much help) for protecting our gun rights, even though a literal interpretation of what it says would pretty much preclude the existence of any gun control laws at all.

        I’ll also admit to an involuntary nervousness about people getting too giddy over words on paper. I recall that one of the pro-gun members of our Select Committee to Study the Use of Automatic and Semiautomatic Firearms, here in Pennsylvania in 1994, who initially opposed that mixed bag of mostly anti-gun legislation that came out of it, turned to supporting the package when he was allowed to draft a preamble to that legislation, extolling in the floweriest words the beauty and sacrosanctness of our constitution. Accord to him, even though they were included in a package chocabloc with violations of Article I, Section 21 of the Declaration of Rights, his words would “make the constitution more powerful.”

  2. Exactly, now it is up to those same courts to define what constitutes the “strict scrutiny” that is required to infringe on the “uninfringeable” right in the previous sentence. Maybe an improvement, but with a legally ambiguous “out”.

    1. Well, they’ll have to redefine strict scrutiny, and create a new system for 1st Amendment jurisprudence. That’s a bit more trouble to go to, but you’re right, this sort of “And this time we mean it!” measure, unless underlined by other measures (in Virgina, the legislature forcing an abusive judge to spend more time with his family) is mostly a feel good thing.

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