With gun violence rates spiking all over the nation, it’s only natural to want to own and carry a gun for the sake of self-protection. The U.S. constitution gives us the automatic right to carry a firearm, but each state has different rules regarding concealed carry, constitutional carry, open carry, and more. It’s important to familiarize yourself with local laws before buying a gun and attempting to carry it in public, whether it be concealed or open carry. Additionally, it’s important to read up on which public places allow guns, and which places don’t. Below, our Baton Rouge criminal defense lawyers break down everything you need to know about Louisiana gun laws.
If you are facing violent crime charges in the state of Louisiana, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. The legal team at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can protect your legal rights and help you obtain the best case outcome possible. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
This means that all American citizens have a constitutional right to carry a firearm for the sake of preserving life, liberty, and property. In other words, most Americans can own and carry guns for hunting activities, self-defense, defense of property, and protection against a cruel or oppressive government.
Only two other countries give their citizens the constitutional right to bear arms: Mexico and Guatemala. Plenty of other countries allow their citizens to possess certain types of firearms with appropriate permits and licenses, but the difference between these countries and the U.S. is that they do not extend an automatic right to own guns.
What is Concealed Carry?
Concealed carry is the act of carrying a concealed firearm, most commonly a handgun, on your person in a public space. As of 2023, all 50 U.S. states allow concealed carry.
Does Louisiana Allow Concealed Carry?
Yes, Louisiana state law allows people to carry a concealed weapon on their person or in close proximity to their person. However, in order to carry a concealed weapon in Louisiana, one must be at least 21 years of age and have a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). In order for non-Louisiana residents to carry a concealed gun, they must also have a permit or license from their state that’s recognized by Louisiana.
What is Constitutional Carry?
Constitutional carry is the act of carrying a gun, whether concealed or openly, without a license or a permit. As of September 2023, only 27 U.S. states allow constitutional carry, although some of these states only allow concealed constitutional carry, and others only allow certain types of guns to be constitutionally carried.
Does Louisiana Allow Constitutional Carry?
No, Louisiana does not allow constitutional carry for anyone except veterans and active duty military members (as of August 2022). Everyone else must have a permit if they wish to carry a concealed gun in public.
What is Open Carry?
Open carry is the act of carrying a visible gun on the person in a public space. In order to be classified as “open carry,” one must keep their gun in a holster or on a sling. Visibly holding a gun with one or both hands while in a combat stance is not considered open carry. Instead, this is considered brandishing a weapon, which is a serious crime in most states.
Only 46 U.S. states allow open carry, but many have specific rules and regulations. For example, many states require permits in order to open carry.
Open carry has become more and more common in the United States over the past decade or so – especially during the height of COVID, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, and the January 6th U.S. Capitol attack. Therefore, open carry has become a very controversial part of gun politics, especially in recent years.
Does Louisiana Allow Open Carry?
Yes, Louisiana is an open carry state, meaning residents can legally carry a visible firearm without a permit. However, residents must be at least 18 years old to open carry in Louisiana.
Is Louisiana a Shall-Issue State?
Yes, Louisiana is one of 41 shall-issue states. Shall issue means that if a person meets all the basic requirements to carry a gun in their state, then the state has no reason to deny this person a permit.
In Louisiana, a permit required to conceal carry a gun is processed by the state’s Department of Public Safety.
Is Firearm Registration Required in Louisiana?
No, Louisiana law does not mandate firearm registration.
Gun Permits in Louisiana: Requirements and How to Get One
In order to obtain a Louisiana concealed handgun permit, you must be at least 21 years old, you must be a resident of Louisiana, and you must undergo a firearms training course. There are two main types of concealed carry permits issued in Louisiana: a 5 year permit and a lifetime permit.
If you would like to start the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit in Louisiana, be sure to apply on the Louisiana State Police website. First time applicants must do the following:
- Fill out and submit the application for a conceal carry permit.
- Submit all the required documents including firearm training, arrest and/or criminal records, medical records of any physical/mental disorders, and divorce decrees.
- Provide new fingerprints. If you happen to have old fingerprints on file, they will not be accepted during first-time Louisiana permit applications. In order to submit new fingerprints, you must call your local police department, local sheriff’s office, or the Louisiana State Police Headquarters located in Baton Rouge.
- Physical applications, fingerprint files, and all other important documents required for a state permit must be mailed to the following address:
- Louisiana State Police
- Concealed Handgun Permit Unit
- PO Box 66375
- Baton Rouge, LA 70896
The fee for a 5 year permit or a lifetime permit in Louisiana heavily depends on the age of the applicant. 5 year permit applicants between the ages of 21 and 64 must pay a fee of $125, while applicants over the age of 65 must pay a fee of $62.50. Lifetime permit applicants between the ages of 21 and 64 must pay a fee of $500, while applicants over the age of 65 must pay a fee of $250.
Where You Can Carry a Gun in Louisiana
Louisiana law allows residents to carry guns in the following places as long you have a permit and as long as the place has no signs saying that firearms are prohibited:
- State parks, state and national forests, and wildlife management areas.
- Roadside rest areas.
- Your privately owned motor vehicle in any parking garage, parking lot, or other designated parking area. This is the only place where gun owners do not need a permit or license to carry their gun. It’s important to note, though, that if you have a gun in your car and you get pulled over for any reason, you must inform the police officer that you have a gun in your car.
Where You Can’t Carry a Gun in Louisiana
In Louisiana, you cannot carry a gun openly or concealed in the following places:
- Any public or private property that prohibits firearms under state or federal law.
- Any police department or sheriff’s office.
- A polling place during voting season.
- Courthouses or courtrooms.
- All places of worship and religious buildings.
- Any airport facility.
- The Louisiana State Capitol building.
- Any meeting place that’s part of a political subdivision of the government.
- Any parades of demonstrations (e.g. Mardi Gras parades) that have a government permit.
- Any place that sells alcoholic beverages.
- Bar sections of restaurants (but you’re allowed to carry inside the restaurant).
- All schools, learning centers, and school buses.
Louisiana Self-Defense Laws
One of the main reasons why both concealed and open carry is so popular in every U.S. state is for the sake of self-defense. Louisiana specifically has high violent crime rates, so many residents argue that not having a gun on your person or in your home or vehicle in case of emergencies is incredibly dangerous.
Louisiana does have explicit self-defense laws, including the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground law. Additionally, Louisiana law does not mandate the duty to retreat from a place that a person has the legal right to be in before using violent or deadly force. In other words, Louisianans have the legal right to “meet force with force,” not flee the scene of violent crime before using deadly force.
Louisiana law allows gun owners to use violent or deadly force in the following situations:
- The use of force is necessary and reasonable in order to prevent injury, death, or trespass of private property.
- The use of force is necessary and reasonable in order to prevent unlawful entry into a home, place of business, or a personal vehicle.
Gun owners who cause serious bodily injury or death for any reason other than defense of self, others, or property can face felony charges and serious penalties. If you’re charged with any violent crime involving a gun, such as aggravated assault, homicide, domestic violence, or aggravated burglary, be sure to hire experienced legal representation from the Law Offices of Ossie Brown.
What is Negligent Carrying of a Concealed Handgun in Louisiana?
Negligent carrying of a concealed handgun in Louisiana (RS 40:1382) is when someone carries a hidden gun, with or without a license, and one of the following situations happens:
- It can be predicted that the gun may fire, or bystanders have reasonable anxiety that the gun may fire.
- The gun is being carried, displayed, or brandished in a way that gives bystanders and/or law enforcement reasonable anxiety that the gun owner is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime.
In situations like this, it is up to a law enforcement officer to summon the gun owner instead of immediately making an arrest, which would escalate the situation and potentially lead to a violent crime occurring. As soon as possible, a law enforcement official should safely seize the gun. If the gun owner is eventually arrested, they should have their concealed carry permit and gun confiscated.
Louisianans who commit negligent carrying of a concealed handgun will face 6 months in jail without hard labor and/or a maximum fine of $500.
Call Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today
If you are facing violent crime charges in the state of Louisiana, you need an experienced team of criminal defense lawyers on your side. Baton Rouge violent crime attorneys at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown have been protecting and defending Louisiana residents since 1984. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown today.