Concealed-handgun permit holders and armed off-duty police officers would be able to enter restaurants serving alcohol, under a bill backed by the House in a 79-19 vote Wednesday.

The Senate next will consider the proposal (House Bill 72) by Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie. Under the bill, sheriffs would ultimately decide whether their officers could carry guns into bars and restaurants by creating policies for their department.

In other gun-related legislative news, lawmakers on the House criminal justice committee backed a proposal Wednesday to give members of the military a discount for concealed handgun permits.

The bill (House Bill 280) by Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, would apply to veterans, active-duty military members and reserve military members seeking a concealed handgun permit.

Currently, the permits cost $125 for a five-year term. Ivey's bill would drop that price tag for the military to $62.50. A lifetime permit costs $500, but it would be reduced to $125 for the military.

The proposal was backed without objection and moves next to the full House for debate.


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