I haven't been aware of exactly how this bill began to progress though I understand it got amended over and over. When I/we heard about it we started making calls and calls and more calls.....encouraging Gov Jindal to veto this bill...........and he did!
Governor Jindal Vetoes Anti-Gun Parade Bill in Louisiana!
Please Thank Governor Jindal!
On Friday, July 10, House Bill 523 was vetoed by Governor Bobby Jindal (R). HB 523, introduced by State Representative Gregory Ernst (R-94), posed an unacceptable risk to those who lawfully carry a concealed firearm.
NRA’s main concern was that the bill could be interpreted to create an outright prohibition on the carrying of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a permitted parade or demonstration, except as specifically authorized in the bill. While certain persons would have been exempt from this prohibition, holders of a valid statewide concealed carry permit would not have been among them. Someone who was otherwise lawfully carrying a firearm pursuant to a statewide permit could have been exposed to criminal liability merely for wandering within 1,000 feet of a parade, whether or not the person caused any harm, broke any other law, or even knew the parade was occurring.
The actions of the sponsor himself indicated that his intent was to ban outright the carrying of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a permitted parade or demonstration. The bill had at one point included an explicit exemption for statewide permit holders, which resulted in Representative Ernst’s threat to pull the legislation unless this exception was removed. Representative Ernst also refused an NRA request to amend the bill to clarify that a person would only be available for the bill’s penalties if the person knew he or she was within 1,000 of a parade or demonstration at the time of the violation.
Given the above-mentioned factors and the very harsh penalties imposed by the bill, NRA believed HB 523 posed an imminent and serious risk for those who lawfully carry firearms in Louisiana. A conviction under the amended statute, even for an inadvertent violation, would have carried felony penalties and the collateral consequence of a lifetime loss of the right to possess a firearm. These penalties are far too grave to risk the very real chance that a court could have interpreted the statute to create an outright prohibition on the possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a permitted parade or demonstration, even for those with a valid Louisiana concealed carry permit.
Please contact Governor Jindal TODAY and thank him for vetoing HB 523.
July 10, 2009
Mr. Alfred W. Speer
Clerk of the House of Representatives
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Re: House Bill No. 523 by Representative Ernst
Dear Mr. Speer:
Under current law, it is illegal to carry a firearm “used in the commission of a crime of violence” within a parade zone. The purpose of this qualifying language is to require that the illegal use of a firearm is the primary element of the offense, not the mere possession of a firearm. House Bill No. 523 removes this important provision and criminalizes certain acts of mere possession. The National Rifle Association and others have requested veto of this bill in part because it does not exempt firearm carriers with a valid permit under R.S. 40:1379.3 or unintentional violators. In addition, I have signed House Bill No. 44, which creates the crime of reckless or criminally negligent discharge of a firearm within 1,000 feet of certain public events, including parades.
For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 523 and hereby return it to the House of Representatives.