Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) this week vetoed a bill passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature that would have allowed residents to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a state-issued license or training.
The bill states that any individual 18 years of age and older and who is not barred from owning a firearm under any other state or federal law “shall not be required to possess a valid concealed handgun permit issued by the state of Louisiana [to] carry a concealed handgun in the state.”
The legislation, introduced by GOP state Sen. Jay Morris, also mandates the creation of a 60-minute online concealed handgun safety course to be offered for free to Louisiana residents, though the training would not be required to carry a concealed handgun.
While the bill received strong support by both chambers of the state legislature, Edwards said in a statement announcing his veto of the legislation that while he is “a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and an enthusiastic outdoorsman and hunter,” he “simply cannot support carrying a concealed carry firearm without proper education and safety training.”
“I believe the majority of Louisianans agree with me,” he added.
“Our current system strikes the right balance of ensuring that people can bear arms while also keeping reasonable permitting and training processes in place,” the Democratic governor continued. “It is a matter of basic public safety and numerous law enforcement leaders across the state opposed the bill for this reason, especially as it relates to the enhanced risk posed to their officers.”
Edwards went on to say that “it is not too much to ask that a person who wishes to carry a concealed weapon in public be required to attend basic marksmanship and safety training so they understand the regulations associated with such an action.”
The veto from Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, comes as states like Texas and Mississippi have been able to implement expanded concealed carry laws with the support of Republican governors.
Morris said in a statement to USA Today Network on Friday that he was not surprised by the veto from Edwards, adding “the governor has been clear all along.”
"But I’m still disappointed,” he added. “This bill is for law-abiding and freedom-loving citizens.
"The people of Louisiana want it and hopefully we will join our neighbors, like Texas and Mississippi, and pass constitutional carry with or without the Governor’s signature,” the Republican state lawmaker said.
Louisiana Republican House Speaker Clay Schexnayder said this week that he would support holding a veto override session after Edwards also vetoed a bill seeking to prohibit transgender girls and women from participating in sports that align with their gender identity.