Louisiana legislators are one step closer to a legal battle with the federal government. House Bill 5, which is sponsored by state Representative Jim Morris (R), passed a Senate committee on Tuesday. The bill is now on its way to the Senate floor for further debate.
The bill would invalidate any federal gun control legislation that restricts the ownership of semi-automatic weapons in the Louisiana.
Legislators are playing with fire; US Attorney General recently criticized Kansas for passing a similar bill. He promised that he would “take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary” to stop the law. Rep. Jim Morris and his colleagues can expect a similar reaction from Holder if the bill passes through the Senate unscathed.
In fact, that’s what Morris is counting on. According to Morris, a legal battle between the state and the federal government would be “worth every dime.” Ignoring the question of whether or not Louisiana citizens should be able to own firearms unrestricted, Morris’s desire to provoke a costly legal battle within the government is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face. At the end of the day, the only thing it does is waste tax dollars.
The Senate committee also approved of three other gun bills. House Bill 6 would allow law enforcement officers to carry firearms in schools while off-duty, House Bill 265 would allow citizens to purchase lifetime concealed carry permits for $500, and House Bill 8 would enforce penalties up to $10,000 on those who “intentionally disseminate for publication” information about concealed permits.
Carl Redman, the executive editor for The Advocate news source, called that last bill “patently unconstitutional” for restricting freedom of speech. He added, "I find it very ironic that the very people who screamed the loudest about attempts to limit their Second Amendment rights are here eager to limit my First Amendment rights."
Two of the four bills are apparently in direct violation of the Constitution. Do Louisiana legislators honestly hope that these bills will stick, or are they just wasting time and tax dollars making an ultimately futile political stunt?