Lawmakers pass bill protecting identity of gun owners
By LITTICE BACON-BLOOD
BATON ROUGE — It will soon be a crime to publicly identify concealed handgun permit holders and permit applicants in Louisiana.
A bill making it a misdemeanor to release or publish the names or addresses of permit owners, as well as applicants for permits, received final passage Thursday and heads to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk.
A spokesman for the governor said Jindal intends to sign it into law.
The House approved the measure 91-2 on Wednesday, while the Senate voted 34-2 in favor on the last day of session.
Violations will carry a $10,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, said the proposal came in response to an online map produced by a New York newspaper shortly after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that included a list of gun owners and their addresses. He said publishing such information would make the gun owners targets.
Critics of the measure argued that the law violates First Amendment protections governing freedom of the press and prohibiting prior restraint on publishing factual information.
The bill was amended to provide for the release of a permit holder’s name under certain conditions, such as with a court order or if the permit holder has been charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, or if that person makes the information public.
Lawmakers on Thursday also approved a second Thompson proposal allowing local sheriffs to institute a concealed weapons permit reciprocity agreement with neighboring parishes. Under existing state law, local sheriffs can issue concealed weapons permits that allow gun owners to carry within the boundaries of the issuing parish.
The names of local concealed weapons permit owners also will fall under the state’s confidentiality law.