Louisiana schools and universities may be expecting a change of environment with a new bill that will allow concealed carry on campuses. The Louisiana state legislature is in session to vote the topic of weapons and handguns over the month of April into May. The bill HB836 is voting to provide relative and restrictions to concealed carry on campus.
The bill primarily focuses on the restrictions to gaining and having a permitted license from the state for the concealed carry. In the digest of the bill it states that entities shall not permit any employee of an institution to interfere with the carrying of a firearm by a person permitted to carry a concealed handgun.
Southeastern Louisiana University instructor Dr. Elizabeth Hornsby said, “As a teacher, I think the faculty of the university should be able to discuss our feelings and decisions on whether we should allow students to pursue that on the university. The i
dea that the bill restricts that already raises some concern.”
Republican Representative Julie Emerson from District 39 is the overseer on the Hb836 bill. Emerson works with multiple committees such as civil law and procedure, legislative delegation, oversight committee, homeland security, and education.
“With laws and preventions like Title IX, it offers protection to students, but this bill could take some of those reflections or possibilities away from the students,” said Hornsby. “I struggle with seeing the whole student body being okay instead of feeling worse than before.”
The bill’s abstract states that it would provide relative authority of the Board of Regents and any post secondary educational management board in this regard. But some students and faculty have raised concern on if their own voices would be heard.
Senior psychology major and resident assistant DeQuaz Humphries said, “With a concealed carry does put a lot more pressure and liability of any workers on campus. In any statistical standard, guns put more pressure on people and influence them in unexpected ways.”
In recent actions, the senate has also passed another bill 602 allowing concealed carriers to be armed for self-defense on k-12 and college campuses. The current Hb836 bill will only allow updated restrictions to the bill that has ben passed by the senate.
“As a student that makes me more cautious and nervous to be around,” said Humphries. “As a student worker that makes me feel more worried of what I would walk into or if someone ever acted on impulse.”
Hammond resident and self-business owner Aaron Bankston said, “I respect the idea of new protection that the bill can offer for university students. Especially with the recent shootings happening but it does concern me that it could get easily out of control or in the wrong hands.”
As of April 4th, the bill is pending approval by the House Administration of Criminal Justice. From there, the house will move for the bill to continue to the senate or be voted off.
For regular updates on the sessions and actions of the bill, one can go to HB836 Legislative Bill for new information.