Amendment 2 — Vote YES on Nov. 6

Proposed law good for Louisiana gun owners

Gordon Hutchinson

November 06, 2012 at 9:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Constitutional Amendment 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot will only strengthen existing concealed-carry laws.
Gordon Hutchinson
Constitutional Amendment 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot will only strengthen existing concealed-carry laws.
A proposed constitutional amendment that would amend language in the 1974 Louisiana Constitution pertaining to the individual right to keep and bear arms will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

If Louisiana voters approve this amendment to our state constitution, we will have the strongest guarantee of gun rights in the nation.

SB303, Amendment 2 on the ballot, contains historic language that will protect our rights more strenuously than ever before, and put us in the forefront of states standing foursquare in defense of the Second Amendment.

The proposed amendment will read:

"Do you support an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Louisiana to provide that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and any restriction of that right requires the highest standard of review by a court" (Amends Article 1, Section 11)"

The 1974 Constitution currently reads:

"11. Right to Keep and Bear Arms Section 11. The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."

If the new amendment is passed, the Constitution will read:

11. Right to Keep and Bear Arms Section 11. The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

You can’t be any stronger than that, right?

Unfortunately, some so-called legal "experts" have mounted an Internet campaign to convince voters to vote against this powerful defensive tool for our gun rights.

Generally these "experts" claim that by passing this amendment we will in some way weaken our concealed-carry permit laws, and even remove our rights to carry openly in the state.

I have had countless email messages from frantic gun owners worried about how to vote because of these jackass statements.

My first advice is to tell them that the NRA (www.nra.org) and the Louisiana Shooting Association (www.louisianashooting.com) have strongly recommended this amendment.

The president of the LSA is Dan Zelenka, an attorney and strong, conservative proponent of our gun rights. Dan has written several editorial essays promoting this amendment. One of his editorials can be found on my blog at www.theshootist.net. Read it and understand why it is imperative you vote FOR Amendment 2 on Nov. 6.

Secondly, I advise folks to run a quick search on the Web site of the Louisiana Bar Association and see if any of these people writing these letters against this proposal are lawyers: I have yet to find a single one of these people against the amendment who are listed on the rosters of the Louisiana Bar Association.

Why would you take legal advice from someone who is not a lawyer?

Dan Zelenka explains it far better than I can in this limited space, but suffice it to say the two key words are "strict scrutiny."

By passing this amendment, you retain the status quo. Any laws currently on the books pertaining to firearms ownership and rights remain in the state statutes.

Any attempt to change these laws that is voted through the legislature can then be challenged in the courts, and that change will then be subjected to the highest level of judicial review — a far higher review than is currently in place.

If the new law is not found to be constitutional it will be nullified by the courts.

By the same token, a constitutional challenge could be made to an existing law, and that law would be examined under the strict scrutiny standard of review. Some might not pass constitutional muster — but this is a much higher standard under which present law might be changed.

In effect, the new amendment strengthens present law with this more-strict review for constitutionality.

Yet these "experts" continue to muddy the water, confusing the voters and asking them to vote against one of the most-powerful tools we will ever have to defend our constitutional rights to own and use firearms.

Again, as written, the new law assumes all present law is constitutional. This means it will be infinitely harder for the legislature to change present law, as such change — if passed by the Legislature — would be immediately challenged and subjected to strict scrutiny by the courts and most likely deemed unconstitutional.

As I stated in a letter to one of my readers who contacted me, I have been writing about gun politics for decades. As the state’s senior concealed carry instructor, I have every intention of voting FOR Amendment 2 on Nov. 6.

Please do not let misinformed people, or some with ulterior agendas, tell you this amendment will weaken our rights to concealed carry or remove our rights to open carry — they are not attorneys and do not know how to interpret law as it is written.

(For more on the subject, go to Gordon’s blog at www.theshootist.net)




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