Louisiana House Bill 48 passed the House last week, allowing off-duty police officers to carry firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol. Democratic state representative Helena Moreno introduced a minor amendment into the bill, however, her amendment could cause problems the new bill. Moreno’s amendment changes the wording so that anyone can openly carry a firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol.
Moreno introduced the amendment without notifying the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Harry Burns (R), or any of his colleagues. Legislators originally debated the bill as if it applied to concealed carry permit holders, so state representatives were not able to debate the full ramifications of Moreno’s amendment.
Even though Moreno’s amendment added stronger gun rights language to an already pro-gun bill, Burns might try to reverse the amendment before introducing the bill to the Senate. "Probably none of us understood the ripple effect," he said, adding that he would need -to "study, research and pray” and "check the pulse of the Senate committee."
Burns also intends to meet with the Sheriffs Association and Louisiana State Police to discuss the amendment.
Even if the bill does make its way into law, Moreno estimates that it won’t have much of an impact on the daily lives of Louisiana citizens. She stated that most Louisianans don’t take advantage of existing open carry laws. In fact, the original purpose of the bill was not to introduce any sort of game-changing legislation; rather, legislators wanted to clear up an incongruity between two seemingly contradictory laws. One law prohibits people from carrying guns into “alcohol beverage outlets,” while the other does not prohibit guns in establishments that serve alcohol.
Gun rights advocates will need to get all of their ducks in a row before they pass off the bill to the Senate. Even though many of the bill’s supporters can get behind the bill’s new wording, the bill could be a hard sell in the Senate.