A measure that would add Louisiana to the long lists of Constitutional, or “permitless,” carry states has passed its first hurdle in the state legislature.

Senate Bill 1, authored by Republican state Sen. Blake Miguez, was approved on Feb. 20 by a 6-1 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now be considered in the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee.

The current Louisiana carry law prohibits the carrying of a concealed firearm, provides for criminal penalties, provides for certain exceptions to the offense, provides that Louisiana residents who meet certain eligibility requirements may apply for and be issued a concealed handgun permit, and requires the person to possess a valid concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in the state. Under the proposed law, carry would be permitted for  a person who is 18 years of age or older and who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under any federal or state law.

Sen. Miguez said the measure would take power out of the government’s hands that it was never supposed to have in the first place.

“Government is not here to place barriers to our constitutional rights,” Miguez told USA Today Network. “Criminals already carry concealed handguns without government permission.”

Miguez further said that the measure would give violent criminals a reason to worry about their prospective victims’ ability to defend themselves.

“It fights crime by allowing innocent individuals to defend themselves, putting them on equal footing with vicious criminals,” Miguez said.

If approved by the Louisiana state legislature and signed by Gov. Jeff Landry, the measure would take effect on April 19, 2024. Landry, a Republican, has voiced his support for such a measure in the past.

“I have always said we are going to pass constitutional carry,” Landry said back in December. “I support further strengthening the rights of our citizens and their ability to exercise their Second Amendment right. As a police officer, I never went to a crime scene in which the perpetrator had a concealed carry permit.”

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