Nine people were injured, at least one critically, in a shooting on New Orleans’s famous Bourbon Street early Sunday morning. The shooting took place around 2:45 am, the Times-Picayune reported, right in the center of the crowded tourist destination that is often flanked by drunk pedestrians on weekend nights.
Witnesses told USA Today that the gunman was yelling angrily at another man, then turned and unloaded his gun into the crowd.
“Just turned around and he started shooting at the crowd. He seemed pissed off at some dude, pulled the gun out and started shooting at the guy then turned around on the crowd and started shooting at us,” a witness recounted to USA Today.
The city’s mayor, Mitch Landrieu, pledged that the shooting would “not go unanswered,” and promised to combat not just this particular type of shooting but any murders in New Orleans. The city’s murder rate has been declining, but Louisiana continues to suffer from one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country, according to a comprehensive study by the Center for American Progress. Guns claim the life of one Louisianan every 10 hours, that report found, and the state ranks among the highest in gun deaths of law enforcement agents, domestic violence victims, and children.
That report also found that gun violence and weak gun laws go hand in hand. Louisiana ranks among the least restrictive states for owning and carrying firearms in the country, beat out by just four others. The state allows anyone to openly carry a weapon anywhere, and a permit is only needed for concealed firearm carry. The state government also has created laws that preempt any local ordinance, meaning that, should New Orleans want to pass stricter laws on firearms, it would be unable to do so.
Earlier this year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) approved a law allowing such permit-holders to bring their guns into establishments that serve alcohol. This law may be having a peculiar effect in New Orleans, where the famous Bourbon Street allows open containers of alcohol to be carried on the street from bar to bar.