The state House voted Thursday to create a tougher legal hurdle for restricting the right to keep and bear arms in Louisiana.
The 77-22 vote came after nearly two hours of debate during which state Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, argued the constitutional amendment is a necessity. He said recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have narrowly struck down gun control measures brought in Washington D.C. and Chicago.
“It’s very scary thing that four people on the Supreme Court don’t see the right to bear arms as fundamental,” Broadwater said.
Senate Bill 303 is a constitutional amendment that would require a majority of Louisiana voters in November to approve it before it became law.
The proposed law states that keeping and bearing arms is a fundamental right in Louisiana that shall not be infringed.
The measure also calls for any denial of that right to be subject to “strict scrutiny” by a court, which is considered a tough legal standard to overcome.
Broadwater said he thought it “absolutely necessary to have it ingrained in our state constitution” a law which expressly states the right to bear arms is a fundamental right.
State Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, implored legislators to vote against it, calling it a part of the National Rifle Association check-list.
“The NRA is using Louisiana as a pawn in a bigger scheme. I have not heard one single threat that has come up that threatens our citizens’ right to bear arms,” the former head of the State Police said. “I’m not going to let any special interest group affect what I believe.”
The state Senate passed the bill sponsored by Neil Riser, R-Columbia by a 31-6 margin last month