Louisiana Weapons Laws
The General Weapons Laws of The State of Louisiana:
In Louisiana the possession of firearms, including handguns, is a Constitutionally protected right for lawful citizens. As such it is lawful to possess a firearm on private property, and in a motor vehicle. Further, the unlicensed open carry of firearms in public is a lawful activity. In fact, the Louisiana Constitution explicitly prohibits the legislature from prohibiting the open carrying of firearms, including handguns. However, the unlicensed concealed carrying of firearms is not a Constitutional right and is illegal. Louisiana law provides for the concealed carrying of firearms, by state license only.
Louisiana law protects the rights of lawful citizens to possess and store firearms in their locked motor vehicles while on open parking lots, parking garages, or other parking areas owned by any property owner, public or private employer, or business entity. If the property owner has chosen to forbid the possession of firearms in motor vehicles, while parked inside a secured, restricted parking area, then it has the burden of providing a storage facility for unloaded firearms or it must provide an alternate unrestricted parking area.
Louisiana does not require permits to own or possess firearms or register those firearms, unless the firearm is a weapon which must be registered with the BATFE pursuant to the National Firearms Act.
In Louisiana, a CHL holder may NOT take a concealed firearm in a list of prohibited places contained in Louisiana Revised Statute 40:1379.3(N).
- A law enforcement office, station, or building
- A detention facility, prison, or jail
- A courthouse or courtroom provided that a judge may carry such a weapon in his own courtroom
- A polling place
- A meeting place of the governing authority of a political subdivision
- The state capitol building (this is probably as a result of the Huey Long assassination)
- Any portion of an airport facility where the carrying of firearms is prohibited under federal law, except that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, if the firearm is encased for shipment, for the purpose of checking such firearm as lawful baggage
- Any church, synagogue, mosque or similar place of worship. However, in Louisiana, there is a very interesting part of the statute that was just amended in 2010 as it relates to conceal carry in churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. If the place of worship wishes to allow conceal carry within its premises (excluding school portions), the place of worship and the person wishing to conceal carry in that place of worship must jump through more legal hoops. First, the leader of the place of worship (pastor, priest, rabbi, etc.) must announce the decision to the congregation. Further, a person desiring to carry in the place of worship shall be required to have an additional eight hour of “tactical” training annually. Louisiana law offers no more explanation than this
- A parade or demonstration for which a permit is issued by a governmental entity
- Any portion of the permitted area of an establishment that has been granted a Class A-General retail permit, as defined in Part II of Chapter 1 or Part II of Chapter 2 of Title 26 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. This includes bars and clubs, not restaurants, even restaurants with dedicated bar areas, which are issued Class A-Restaurant retail permits. In Louisiana, if the establishment has been granted a Class A-General retail permit to sell and consume alcohol on premises, a CHL holder is prohibited from carrying. Restaurant such as Chili’s and T.G.I. Fridays are issued Class A-Restaurant permits, therefore a CHL holder would be allowed to carry a concealed handgun inside these premises. Please remember there is no signage requirement to put CHL holders on notice that possession is prohibited in Louisiana
- Any school “firearm free zone” as defined in R.S. 14:95.6. In Louisiana a “firearm free zone” includes the school campus (which includes all grounds, walkways, parking lots and buildings within the school property boundaries), school transportation, school sponsored functions, as well as within 1000 feet of the school campus. However, it is an exception to the prohibition that one may carry a firearm entirely within a motor vehicle, as this is a constitutionally protected activity in Louisiana
In Louisiana, private property owners, lessees, or other lawful custodians retain the right to prohibit or restrict access of those persons possessing a concealed handgun. No particular signage or language is required for notice to be given, so watch out for any type of “No Guns Allowed” signs. Also, with regard to private residences, no individual to whom a concealed handgun permit is issued may carry such concealed handgun into the private residence of another without first receiving the consent of that person.
In Louisiana, if a person in possession of a CHL and carrying a concealed handgun is stopped by a police officer asked for a CHL, that person is required to give it to the officer. Additionally, if a person is armed and a peace officer approaches that person in an “official manner” or with an “identified purpose”, that person must:
- Notify the officer that you have a weapon on their person
- Submit to a pat down
- Allow the officer to temporarily disarm them
There is no such requirement under the law if a person is not presently “armed” when they are approached by the police officer in Louisiana.
In Louisiana, since it is a constitutionally protected right to carry a firearm openly, a CHL holder must be aware of whether or not he is carrying a handgun in a negligent manner. It is a crime in Louisiana to carry a handgun in a manner when it is foreseeable that the handgun may discharge or when others are placed in reasonable apprehension that the handgun may discharge, or when a handgun is being carried, brandished, or displayed under circumstances that create a reasonable apprehension on the part of members of the public or a police officer that a crime is being committed or is about to be committed. In these cases a person possessing a handgun, whether licensed or not, will be held to the standard of what would cause a reasonable person to be apprehensive about the danger of the handgun. This seems to be a very vague standard, so beware when carrying a handgun concealed with a CHL or unconcealed pursuant to the Louisiana Constitution.
Louisiana prohibits carrying concealed handgun when you are under the influence of alcohol and/or a “controlled dangerous substance”. The statute defines under the influence as being a blood alcohol reading of .05%, which is not a lot alcohol.
Firearms in a Casino:
There is not clear, defined rule on this issue. Louisiana law does not outright prohibit firearms in casinos; however, many casinos use the law allowing private property owners to exclude concealed handguns to prevent firearms on the premises. Also, the casinos are usually issued a Class A-General alcohol permit which would prohibit the carrying of a concealed handgun on the premises. A concealed handgun licensee should be able to take a concealed handgun to their hotel room, unless it is specifically prohibited by the rental agreement, pursuant to the private property exception.
Justified Use of Force and Deadly Force:
In Louisiana a person is allowed to use force or violence against another for the purposes of preventing a forcible offense against the person or property in the person’s possession. This justification does not apply if the use of force or violence results in death. Use of force or violence that results in death is only allowed in the following situations:
- when committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger or losing his life or receiving great bodily harm.
- when committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or great bodily harm.
- when committed by the occupant of a dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle, against a person who is reasonably believed to be using force to unlawfully gain entry. Louisiana law creates a presumption that a person is justified in using deadly force in the protection of themselves if the perpetrator is unlawfully, forcibly entering their occupied dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle. Louisiana law also allows a person to defend a third-party if the third-party would have been justified in defending themselves. Also, a person is under no duty to retreat from their dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle. It does not appear that a person could use deadly force in the protection of property alone, where the person did not feel that there was a reasonable threat of death or great bodily harm.
Any of the above information is solely a general legal discussion of the law in Louisiana and should not be considered as giving legal advice, nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Your situation may be different so contact our attorneys regarding your personal circumstances. Please call our office for more information.