Guns allowed near Louisiana schools, but not in them after Senate panel softens bill – NOLA.com

A Louisiana Senate Judiciary B Committee voted 3-2 Tuesday (May 15) for a measure to clarify that people with concealed weapons permits can carry guns up to a school or university property line, but not actually on campus. 

The proposal is a substitute for House Bill 602, sponsored by Rep. Blake Miguez, R-Erath, that would have allowed people with concealed weapon permits to carry guns into schools and universities, both public and private. That measure passed the House but faced major opposition, particularly from universities, who threatened to derail it in the Senate. 

Currently, Louisiana law doesn’t allow anyone but law enforcement to carry weapons within 1,000 feet of a school. But there are other laws that conflict with that measure, according to Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, who voted for the rewritten legislation. 

Concealed weapon permit holders have already challenged the 1,000-foot prohibition on weapons around schools, and the courts have sided with the challengers, Morrell said. Specifically, the challenges have come from people who live within 1,000 feet of a school or university and own guns they want to keep in their homes. 

Morrell typically favors more gun restrictions, but he said he voted with Republicans in favor of the legislation because courts have repeatedly ruled that a 1,000-foot restriction on people with concealed weapon permits carrying guns does not exist anyway. This new version of legislation would clear up ambiguity in the law, he said. 

The approval of the bill still upset some university officials though. Jacques Battiste, police chief at Xavier University, told Morrell after the vote that students at his school would be very upset if they saw a person with a weapon at the edge of the campus. It could create a panic at the university. 

Several other people were also upset that they

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