What happened to Louisiana's gun bill to arm classroom teachers and expand concealed carry?
A bill to expand concealed carry gun rights that transformed into a measure to arm classroom teachers in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting massacre never got a final hearing in the Louisiana Legislature, shelving the effort for another year.
Republican Oil City Rep. Danny McCormick said he believes the Senate purposely ran out the clock on House Bill 37 before putting it to a vote. The session ended Monday.
"In my opinion they turned it into a teacher carry bill rather than a constitutional carry bill so they could slow walk it and eventually kill the bill," McCormick said Thursday in an interview with USA Today Network.
McCormick's original bill would have removed the current permitting and training requirements to carry a concealed gun. Supporters refer to it as "constitutional carry" because they believe the Second Amendment already grants that right.
Louisiana is already what's known as an "open carry" state, which means people can carry visible firearms without a permit or training.
McCormick's measure easily cleared the House, but a Senate committee amended the bill to eliminate the concealed carry portion of the bill and replaced it with language to allow teachers to carry concealed guns in their schools and classrooms.
Republican Gonzales Sen. Eddie Lambert proposed the amendment during the final days of the session.
"This better addresses an issue on everybody's minds — how to eliminate a threat in schools as soon as possible," Lambert said during the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Committee debate.
The bill cleared the Senate committee, but was never scheduled for debate in the full Senate.
Lawmakers passed a concealed carry bill in 2021 that was nearly identical to McCormick's original legislation, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the measure.
Edwards has generally been a reliable vote for gun rights expansion bills, but he said he believes the current law requiring in-person training and a permit "strikes the right balance."
Opponents, like those representing the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, warned allowing concealed carry without permits elevates the potential of illegal gun violence or accidental shootings.
But McCormick said expanding concealed carry "isn't going to create chaos or turn us into the wild, wild West.
Twenty-five states have enacted similar concealed carry expansion laws.
"I'm going to bring the bill back every year until it passes," he said. "My bill sends a clear message to people that we aren't willing to compromise when it comes to their Second Amendment rights."
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.