How Will Legislature Respond to Vegas Shootings?

Oct 4, 2017

Will Louisiana’s legislators propose new laws in reaction to the tragic Las Vegas shootings? If the past five years are any guide, it's very likely they will.

Let's explore that timeline.

On November 6, 2012, voters approved a state constitutional amendment saying “The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed.Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

It passed with the approval of 83 percent of voters.

On December 14, 2012, 38 days after that election, 28 people -- including 20 first-graders -- were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While Congress considered a ban on AR-15s, AK-47s and/or the conversion kits that would make them fully automatic weapons, Louisiana lawmakers proposed a countermeasure during the 2013 legislative session.

“The bill basically prohibits the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms,” explained HB 5 author, Republican Representative Jim Morris of Oil City.

His bill, which would have also prohibited enforcement of any ban on magazines, accessories or ammunition for the so-called “assault weapons” ultimately failed to pass.

On July 23, 2015,“I went to a movie in Lafayette,” says Cissy Rowley, a teacher from New Orleans. “A man began shooting. Two women, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, were murdered, and nine people were shot. I was shot through the thigh and calf of my right leg.”

32 days later, on August 24, 2015 State Trooper Steven Vincent is killed, trying to assist a motorist in distress.

“He encounters a truck in a ditch,” then- State Police Commander Col. Mike Edmonson said, with tears in his eyes. “And the truck door opens and you see the shotgun comin’ out.”

The next spring, Baton Rouge Republican Barry Ivey proposes a bill to allow concealed carry of firearms without a permit.

“Individuals, in my opinion, have a absolute constitutional right to conceal carry without a permit. I believe these rights have been infringed,” Ivey explained.

That bill failed to get out of committee.

Within two months, on June 12, 2016, a gunman opens fire in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, resulting in 49 dead, 58 injured. Three weeks later, five Dallas police officers are killed and another nine people injured in another mass shooting. And ten days later, Baton Rouge law enforcement officers are ambushed. That toll? Three injured, three cops dead, plus the gunman.

And in the next legislative session – this past spring – Ivey brought the no-permit concealed carry bill back. Again, it failed to get out of committee.

And as Louisiana's legislature rolled into a special session right after the regular session, on June 14, Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, the U.S House Majority Whip, is shot while practicing baseball. Three others were wounded, as well.

Scalise returned to the U.S. House on Thursday. Sunday night, a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people, and more than 500 others were injured.

What’s next?