Louisiana Amendment Gives Gun Rights Strictest Constitutional Protection

One ballot initiative that received comparatively little attention this week is Louisiana’s successful expansion of the state’s already-generous gun rights. The new NRA-backed constitutional amendment arguably makes protection of gun rights under the state constitution even stricter than under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The amendment removes language that authorized the legislature to “prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on a person” and subjects any law that infringes on the right to bear arms to “strict scrutiny” – the highest level of skepticism courts apply to legislation. The U.S. Supreme Court justices have indicated that concealed carry restrictions generally don’t violate the Second Amendment. In addition to endangering the state’s law requiring permits to carry a concealed weapon, the law also puts at risk the state’s stun gun ban, and gun bans on campuses and in bars. Conservative blogger and law professor Eugene Volokh warns that even the state’s requirement of concealed carry permits for those 18-20 years old may be at risk. A wholesale ban on the sale of guns to people ages 18-20 was just last month upheld under the U.S. Constitution by the very conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — the circuit that encompasses Louisiana.