La. House Criminal Justice Committee Passes Legislation To Block Federal Government From Placing Ban On Semi-Automatic Weapons In La.
The bill passed by a 9 to 6 vote on Wednesday, now heading to the La. House floor for more debate.
Oil City Representative Jim Morris (R) says his legislation is "a hurdle" that blocks the federal government form placing a ban on semi-automatic weapons in Louisiana. He says a law on Louisiana's books would force the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the federal legislation.
But New Orleans Representative Austin Badon (D) questions the need for this bill. "Tell me where anyone is saying 'You gotta give up your guns,'" says Badon. "I've heard this numerous times today. Where is anybody saying at the state or the federal level that you have to give up your guns."
At issue also was whether this bill would violate the Supremacy clause in the Constitution, which says a state law can't precede a federal law. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson (R) likes what this may do. "I believe what this will do is prompt a discussion in the judicial branch of 'Is a law from the federal government simply constitutional because the legislative body passes it'?" says Thompson.
But New Iberia Representative Terry Landry (D), who voted against the measure says Louisiana can't have it both ways - by picking and choosing which federal laws they want to follow. "I think we ought to make this all-encompassing and say 'When there's a hurricane or there's some federal aid from the federal government, don't come and bother us when we're doing this. Don't take their money. Let's not take take the Highway Trust money or the money that comes down from the highways.'"
Gonzales Representative Eddie Lambert (R) says they are trying to protect the second amendment rights of Louisiana citizens. "If you're a law-abiding citizen, you have the right to bear this," says Lambert. "You haven't done anything wrong. You have a right to protect yourself. And that's what this bill does."