Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edward vetoed a bill passed by the bipartisan state lawmakers that would have nixed the permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun.
The governor, a Democrat, said he’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an “enthusiastic outdoorsman and hunter,” but he can’t support permitless concealed carry.
“I simply cannot support carrying a concealed carry firearm without proper education and safety training,” he said in a statement. “Our current system strikes the right balance of ensuring that people can bear arms while also keeping reasonable permitting and training processes in place … Simply put, 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.”
“For these reasons, I have vetoed the permitless carry bill,” he added.
The bill, Senate Bill No. 118 (pdf), allows any resident who is 21 years of age or older and who is not prohibited from owning a firearm by state or federal law to carry a concealed gun without a permit.
Legally qualified gun owners “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 of Louisiana,” the bill states.
The bill also requires the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections to provide a free 60-minute online concealed handgun education course.
The scope of the online training includes sections on concealed handgun basics and nomenclature, firearm-free zones, use of deadly force, and interactions with law enforcement officers.
However, the course is not required for concealed handgun carry.
State Sen. Jay Morris, the Republican sponsor of Senate Bill 118, told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser that he’s not surprised but still disappointed for the governor’s decision.
“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,” he said.
The bill was passed in the state Senate and House with bipartisan support. One Democratic Senator and 7 Democratic House members joined the Republicans to vote for the bill.
State Senate President Patrick Page Cortez and state House Speaker Clay Schexnayder didn’t respond immediately to requests from The Epoch Times for comments.
It’s unclear if the state Senate and the House will organize a vote to override the veto.
However, Schexnayder said earlier this week that he supports a veto override session after Edwards vetoed an unrelated bill, The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported.
The override session—which could happen at the end of July—would be the first one since the new Louisiana Constitutional was adopted in 1974.
The Epoch Times reached out to the National Rifle Association for comments.