Troubling Times and Your LSA: Are Your Rights Safe in Louisiana?

For years we have heard from those who hate our Civil Rights protected under the Second Amendment, “We are not coming for your guns. We only want common sense gun laws.” However, President-Elect Joe Biden’s Twitter message to former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords made it crystal clear: Biden pledged to work with Giffords on her extremist gun control agenda, and promised to “defeat the NRA.” In response, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) founder and Executive Vice-President Alan M. Gottlieb said “Joe Biden has labored relentlessly for decades to reduce the Second Amendment to rubble. He may attack one group by name, but his goal is to crush the rights of every gun owner in our country.” [Click here for more on Gottlieb’s response]

We are all thankful for organizations like the NRA and the SAF that work at the National level to defeat the emotional and uninformed anti-Civil Rights politicians like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. For many years, most Louisianians have felt safe under the protection of these National pro-Second Amendment organizations. But, with the influx of money and outside influence from the staunch anti-Civil Rights Michael Bloomberg, Louisiana State Politicians have become emboldened in their attempts to limit your rights. Two years ago, Democrats in the State House proposed bill after bill that came directly from the playbook of the Bloomberg-financed Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown was created in 2013 when Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined forces. Everytown for Gun Safety is largely financed by Michael Bloomberg.

Your best defense against the loss of your Second Amendment Rights in Louisiana is a strong LSA. The LSA is laser focused on your Civil Rights protected under the Second Amendment. Although we closely monitor National laws, 100% of our efforts are in Louisiana. The LSA works with pro-Second Amendment legislators to craft laws that protect your rights. The LSA helps legislators on both sides of the aisle to craft anti-crime legislation that will not inadvertently (or purposefully) harm your rights. The LSA works tirelessly to defeat any and all legislation that would harm your protected right to keep and bear arms.

Your membership is crucial, because politicians are influenced by numbers. A large LSA demonstrates a strong commitment by the Citizens of Louisiana for the preservation of their Civil Rights protected by the Second Amendment. Membership is only $15 per year! If you are already a member, consider giving a friend a membership in the LSA.

Your continued support is critical for our mission.

Candidates for 2021 Election of Directors

Ron Duplessis: Incumbent Director; Life Member of LSA; Life Member of NRA; Owner , President of several rifle and barrel manufacturing companies, including Carbon Six Barrels, Carbon Six Rifles, Mcgowen Precision Barrels, and Precision Cut Barrels, with plans to bring three different rifles and seven models to market in 2021; owns patent for the three lug bolt action rifle (Pat. No. 7975417); manufacturer that works with the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF) and displays at the SHOT Show; Range Owner; accomplished shotgun shooter; extensive legislative and bill writing experience

John Grout: Incumbent Alternate Director; no information provided by candidate

Jay D. Hunt, III: Incumbent Director and Treasurer; First elected to LSA Board in 2006; Treasurer since 2008; Life Member of LSA; Benefactor Member of NRA; Life Member of Second Amendment Foundation; Life Member of Safari Club International; Hunter Education Instructor; NRA Range Safety Officer; former High Power Rifle Master level competitive shooter and Junior shooting coach; Retired Range Safety Officer and former Board member for Honey Island Shooting Range; Staunch supporter of Second Amendment Rights

Ronald “Buck” Kliebert: Incumbent Director; First elected to LSA Board in 2009; Member of the NRA; former Louisiana State High Power Rifle Team member from 2006-2011; Jr. High Power Rifle Coach; active competitive shooter holding NRA classifications in High Power Rifle (Master), Long Range Prone (Master), Mid-Range Prone (High Master) and Small Bore Prone (Expert); Staunch supporter of our Second Amendment Rights and would like to continue serving you as a director on the LSA board

Paul Prokop: Incumbent Director and Secretary; First elected to LSA board in 2012; Secretary since 2012; Life member of LSA; Benefactor member of NRA; High Power Rifle Master level competitive shooter; Retired Coast Guard Captain (O-6)

David J. Ramey: Incumbent Alternate Director; Life Member of LSA; Benefactor and Golden Eagle Member of NRA; LA CHP and Hunter Ed Instructor; Retired Range Safety Officer and former Board member for Honey Island Shooting Range; currently working as compliance officer and in-house Trainer/Instructor at Jefferson Gun Outlet & Indoor Range; Supported the Second Amendment in several states in the past when employed there

Ted A. Torres, III:  Served on the board of directors for the Louisiana Shooting Association from 2012 to 2019.  Served as the match director for NRA F-class and Field Precision Rifle competitions at Palo Alto Rifle and Pistol Club 2011-2015.  Previous owner of Ritten Precision, LLC specializing in building and accurizing of competition and long-range hunting rifles.  Passionate hunter and dedicated supporter of 2A rights.

Dwayne Vidrine: Incumbent Director;  First elected to the LSA Board in 2018; Life member of the LSA; benefactor member of the NRA; Registered Professional Engineer #25201, State of Louisiana; Member of the Palo Alt Rifle & Pistol Club and the Southeast Louisiana High Power Rifle Club; Active High Power Rifle and service pistol competitive shooter; Distinguished Rifleman #2276.; Staunch supporter of our Second Amendment Rights.

2021 Annual Meeting and Elections

The Officers and Directors of the LSA met in a special virtual session on December 10, 2020 to discuss the upcoming 2021 Annual Meeting of the Members and Elections of the Directors. It was decided at that meeting that,

  1. The 2021 Annual Meeting will not be held to protect the members from the possible exposure to coronavirus 2019-nCoV, which can result in COVID-19, and
  2.  The Annual Elections of Directors will be held by a special electronic ballot.

The electronic elections will commence on Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 08:00 CST and will end on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 07:59 CST. To vote in the election, you must be a member of the LSA as of Saturday, February 20, 2021. We will pull an electronic list of the members on February 20 in preparation for sending the electronic invitations by email. The invitation will be sent to your email on record.

Governor Edwards Wants to Veto Your Rights!

Although Governor John Bel Edwards signed HB 334 (church carry) into law, the Governor is considering a veto of the CRITICAL HB 140.

House Bill 140, sponsored by Rep. Blake Miguez, prevents local authorities and municipalities from imposing restrictions to prohibit the possession of a firearm.  Preemption legislation is designed to stop municipalities from creating a patchwork of different laws that turn a law-abiding citizen into a criminal for simply crossing a jurisdictional line.

There is pressure on the Democrats who voted for HB 140 to not override his veto. We have to let the Governor know that we will not tolerate his hatred of our Second Amendment Rights!

Please, contact the Governor today! Please click here and write an email to the Governor. Then, call 225-342-0991 or 844-860-1413 and urge the Governor to SIGN HB 140!

Pro-Gun Bills Pass House Committee; Head to Full House

Yesterday, four pro-gun measures were passed out of the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee.  These bills now head to the House Floor where they could be voted on as early as Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Thank you to the bill sponsors for ushering these four important bills through the House Committee.  These measures protect our freedom in times of uncertainty and emergency, including during the current Covid-19 outbreak.  Please contact your State Representative and ask them to support these pro-Civil Rights bills.

House Bill 746, sponsored by Rep. Ray Garofalo (R, Dist. 103), allows those who lawfully possess a firearm to carry concealed for self-defense during a mandatory evacuation under a declared state of emergency or disaster.

House Bill 781, sponsored by Rep. Blake Miguez (R, Dist. 49), establishes that firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, and retailers are “Essential Businesses” that shall not be prohibited from conducting business during a declared disaster or emergency.  HB 781 further prevents law-abiding gun owners’ rights from being infringed during proclaimed curfews.

House Bill 140, sponsored by Rep. Blake Miguez (R, Dist. 49), prevents local authorities and municipalities from imposing restrictions to prohibit the possession of a firearm.  Preemption legislation is designed to stop municipalities from creating a patchwork of different laws that turn a law-abiding citizen into a criminal for simply crossing a jurisdictional line.

House Bill 334, sponsored by Reps. Bryan Fontenot (R., Dist. 55), Blake Miguez (R, Dist. 49) and Charles Owen (R., Dist 30), authorizes a concealed handgun permit holder to carry a concealed handgun in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other similar place of worship.

To find your State Representative, click HERE.

Please contact your state Representative and ask them to support the above pro-Civil Rights bills.

More Federal Anti-Gun Nonsense: HR 5717

As the Chinese curse goes, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we certainly do. At a time when each Louisianan is concerned with his or her safety and the safety of their loved ones, US Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) is pushing a massive gun grab bill in the US House of Representatives that would leave law-abiding Americans defenseless.

Many of our LSA members have heard of Johnson’s bill, H.R. 5717, the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act.  Truly, there is nothing innovative in the bill. Rep. Johnson copied proposals already offered by his colleagues in Congress and packaged them into one bill with his name on it. This is the same approach adopted by failed Presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

H.R. 5717 includes all sorts of anti-Civil Rights schemes like banning semi-automatic firearms, a federal licensing scheme for all gun purchasers, “universal” background checks, unconstitutional red flag laws, and other anti-gun proposals that have already been introduced. These proposals are part of the Michael Bloomberg anti-Civil Rights gun control play book, all of which we are seeing being proposed at the State level by Louisiana Representatives that are on the Bloomberg payroll.  Remember, Bloomberg bought the Virginia legislature and he will certainly try that here and in other pro-Civil Rights states. A discussion on gun legality is also extended to the subject of Opinion Piece: Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry. Click to find out what it is!

The real danger from these proposed laws is a government intent on disarming its citizens to impose its will on it subjects. Across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing all sorts of malevolent behavior by State’s Governments. Some anti-gun lawmakers have deemed gun stores as “non-essential,” shut down issuance of firearm permits, and, in some locations, they have created extreme delays for background checks required for firearm transfers. Some jurisdictions have even put added restrictions on firearm transfers, making it all but impossible for many law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

U.S. LawShield Webinar: Emergency Declarations and Your 2nd Amendment Rights

There has been a recent increase in gun and ammunition purchasing due to the ongoing COVID-19 Emergency. Many of the new gun owners we are seeing would never have normally purchased a gun and may have questions about their legal rights as a new gun owner. Edwin Walker, one of U.S. LawShield’s Houston-based program attorneys, has recorded a talk discussing gun ownership and gun rights during a national emergency.  To view this webinar, click here.

Gun Bills Pre-Filed for 2020 in Louisiana State House

LSA President, Dan Zelenka has been extremely busy representing you in our never ending battle to protect your Civil Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Dan has been working with several Pro-Rights State Legislators to craft bills towards there aims. Here is a partial list of some of the bills we can expect to see in the 2020 Legislative Session.
Pro-Rights Bills
HB 140 (Blake Miguez, R, Dist. 49) Provides relative to the preemption of state law for firearms: Proposed law removes the exception from present law, prohibiting any governing authority of a political subdivision from enacting any ordinance or regulation that is more restrictive than state law concerning the possession of a weapon or firearm in certain commercial establishments and public buildings.
HB 277 (Blake Miguez, R, Dist. 49) Provides relative to the certification requirements for concealed handgun permit safety and training course instructors: Proposed law provides alternative means of certification for instructors who provide the required training and safety courses for concealed handgun permit applicants
HB 334 (Bryan Fontenot, R, Dist. 55) Authorizes a concealed handgun permit holder to carry a concealed handgun in a place of worship: Proposed law authorizes a concealed handgun permit holder to carry a concealed handgun in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other similar place of worship by repealing the present law limitation on a permit holder’s authority to carry in such places.
HB 484 (Blake Miguez, R, Dist. 49)Provides an exception to certain offenses of illegal carrying of weapons for persons with a concealed handgun permit: Under current law, even if one has a valid concealed handgun permit, one could be arrested for carrying a concealed pocket knife. The proposed law retains present law but provides an exception to the prohibition for any person who has a valid concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to present law. Proposed law further provides that the provisions shall not prohibit a person with a valid concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to present law from carrying a concealed firearm or other instrumentality customarily used or intended for probable use as a dangerous weapon on his person unless otherwise prohibited by present law.
HB 686 (Danny McCormick, R, Dist. 1) Provides relative to the concealed carrying of firearms: Proposed law amends present law to remove the requirement that a person possess a permit issued by the state of Louisiana to carry a concealed handgun in the state of Louisiana. This is the so called, “Constitutional Carry Bill.”
Anti-Rights Bills
HB 147 (Jason Hughes, D, Dist. 100) Allows governing authorities of Orleans parish to adopt certain regulations related to firearms and ammunition: Proposed law provides that nothing in present law prohibits a parish with a population of not less than 300,000 nor more than 400,000 according to the latest federal decennial census, or any local governing authority or official thereof, from enacting or enforcing any ordinance or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms. The LSA opposes this legislation as it would create a patchwork of laws concerning possession and use of firearms throughout the state of Louisiana.
HB 452 (Stephanie Hilferty, R. Dist. 94) Provides relative to the illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile: Proposed law expands the application of present law to prohibit the possession of all firearms by a juvenile who has not attained the age of 18 years, and expands the application of the present law exceptions to the possession of any firearm under the circumstances specified in present law. The LSA opposes this legislation because it restricts the ability of youth from possessing rifles and shotguns.
HB 471 (Gary Carter, D, Dist. 102)Provides for the seizure of firearms from persons who pose a risk of imminent injury to self or others: Proposed law authorizes a district attorney or assistant district attorney to petition the court for the issuance of a warrant for the search and seizure of anyf irearm from any person when the petitioner has probable cause to believe that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or to another person. This is a so called, “Red Flag Law.” The LSA opposes this legislation as this law would allow the seizure of firearms without due process and in violation of Constitutional Civil Rights.
Please send a polite email to everyone on the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and ask them to, “Support your Civil Right to Keep and Bear Arms and vote against Anti-Right Bills that take away or restrict your Civil Rights!.

New Orleans Mayor Bans Sale and Transportation of Firearms

By Jay D. Hunt, Ph.D.

On beautiful, sunny Saturday, March 14, LSA President Dan Zelenka, LSA Life Member Tom Gresham, and I were practicing social distancing by exercising our Second Amendment rights at a private shooting range in Mississippi. Our bliss was suddenly interrupted when we received a text message: the Mayor of New Orleans was planning to invoke emergency powers and issue a coronavirus emergency order allowing her to ban the sale and transportation of firearms. Tom immediately turned to Dan and said, “I’m calling Alan Gottlieb.”

On March 16, 2020, the Second Amendment Foundation responded to Cantrell’s claims of emergency powers over firearms by reminding her that they sued over Second Amendment infringement following Hurricane Katrina and will do so during the era of coronavirus if needed. SAF executive vice president Alan Gottlieb said, “Following Hurricane Katrina, we sued the city when then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration began confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens for no good reason. The federal court order the city to cease confiscations. We sued New Orleans then, and we’ll do it again. The presence of a nasty disease does not suspend any part of the Bill of Rights, no matter what some municipal, state or even federal politician may think. While we certainly recognize the seriousness of this virus and its ability to spread rapidly, treating COVID-19 and taking steps to prevent it from infecting more people has nothing at all to do with the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.”

Gottlieb added, “People legally licensed to carry should not have their right to do so suddenly curtailed because some politician panicked. We didn’t allow it before, and we’re not going to allow it now.”

The LSA is keeping a close eye on Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D), who is no friend to law-abiding gun owners. We very much appreciate the crucial help of the SAF. If you do not support the SAF, you probably should consider it. The LSA gets no financial support from the SAF, but the SAF has filed EVERY major law suit in support of the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms. You can visit the SAF here.

The LSA’s Position on Constitutional Carry

There has been a wave of permit-less concealed carry laws enacted across the US. They are popularly referred to as “Constitutional Carry Laws.”  In the past, there have been constitutional carry bills filed and presented to the Louisiana House Administration of Criminal Justice committee. No representative of the LSA, or even the NRA, attended those hearings, much less supported the bills. With respect to the LSA, this was in part because we are conservative and wanted to see how these laws worked in other states. There are 16 states with constitutional carry laws in effect and bills are pending in several others. After watching how they worked and looking for any problems they might cause, LSA has decided to support HB 686 because constitutional carry in Louisiana is an idea whose time has come. There is a constitutionally-protected right to carry a firearm openly in Louisiana; constitutional carry would allow someone carrying a firearm to put on a coat or wear his shirt untucked.

The Michael Bloomberg supported Moms Demand Action anti-rights group will claim that the sky will fall and blood will run in the streets if constitutional carry passes. We all heard the same thing from similar anti-rights groups when shall issue concealed carry laws were proposed and passed. None of their dire predictions came true. The 16 states that have constitutional carry have experienced no more issues than carry permit states, which is to say very, very few issues.

You may have concerns about training. We at the LSA agree that it is important, and we encourage people to get training. However, we do not believe training should be mandated. If it can be mandated for concealed carry, why not mandate it for open carry or even mandate it for gun ownership? You can see the slippery slope created by taking a position as a gun professional that people need training to have or carry a gun (keep and bear).

Fortunately, we have a track record to look at with respect to whether mandatory training should be required. In addition to the 16 constitutional carry states there are 6 states that require no training to get a permit. Those states do not experience any more issues than we do in Louisiana with our mandatory training. Further, economist John Lott noted that the increase in the number of people carrying guns in constitutional carry states has actually led to an increase in gun owners getting training, not a decrease.

Some have noted that constitutional carry will lead to law enforcement officers being shot. This, in fact, is a Red Herring. Constitutional carry does not allow “everyone” to carry concealed. It only allows law abiding citizens to carry. Law abiding citizens by definition are not a danger to law enforcement officers. Besides, the right to keep and bear arms is a Civil Right that is a limitation on the power of the government (the police). No civil right exists to make the job of the police easier.

The LSA believes that allowing constitutional carry will actually have the effect of more people getting their permit, not less. Carrying under the constitutional carry bill will have its limitations such as a lack of reciprocity, inability to carry within a 1000-foot school zone, and the inability to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol (there are special laws that allow each of these things for permit holders). People that become used to carrying a firearm will grow unhappy with these limitations and many will likely obtain permits. In addition, there are other advantages to a permit such as the NICS background check waiver and, if HB 484 passes, the ability to carry a knife without being subject to RS 14:95.

People may think that it is a good idea to require a person to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm, but that is not the standard by which we must judge this bill. Louisiana Constitution Article 1, Section 11 says that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and any infringement will be subject to strict scrutiny review. Strict scrutiny requires a compelling governmental interest and a narrowly tailored regulation. That we have a constitutionally-protected right to open carry in Louisiana and have been doing so without problems for many years coupled with the evidence provided by 16 other states’ experiences with constitutional carry clearly show that there is no compelling governmental interest in preventing a law-abiding citizen from carrying his legally owned firearm in a concealed manner without obtaining a permit to do so.