Seven of eight bills to loosen restrictions on firearms passed through the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday.
One bill seeks to circumvent federal restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, despite several members questioning how it would stand up to the Supremacy Clause, which establishes federal law as the law of the land.
Rep. Terry Landry says Louisiana can’t just pick and choose which federal laws it wants to follow. Speaking sarcastically, Landry said, "I think we ought to make this all-encompassing and say that when there’s a hurricane or there’s some federal aid from the federal government, don’t come and bother us while we’re doing this. Don’t take their money. Let’s not take the highway trust money, let’s not take the money that comes down from education – let’s not take any of that money."
Rep. Jim Morris, the bill’s author, says they will deal with the Supremacy Clause when it comes along but, for now, the right of Louisianians to protect their homes and their families is priority, "and," Morris said, "if it means me telling someone in Washington or another state or in this body that I have that right, that’s what I’m going to do because I think I do. And I don’t want to relinquish that right."
Another bill, which Rep Barbara Norton said aimed to protect families, died in committee. The bill would have required gun owners to store guns in locked containers. “No one here is trying to take a gun away. All this is about is putting your gun up so those children cannot pick those guns up.”
Meanwhile, the US Senate killed a bill that would have required background checks for those that buy guns at shows and via the internet.
The bevy of firearms bills comes in the wake of the Connecticut shootings last December.