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Burns wants to change gun law, allow officers to carry in restaurants

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BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTBS) -

Right now in Louisiana, the law states law enforcement officers in plain clothes or off duty can not carry their weapons into an establishment that serves alcohol. That's even though they're considered on-duty 24-7.

State Representative Henry Burns is trying once again to change that with House Bill 10. Last legislative session he filed a bill just like HB10, but it died in a Senate committee after passing the House.

"How the law was worded, we have law enforcement officer inadvertently breaking the law by going into places like Applebee's and Chili's," said Burns. "And we're just trying to correct that."

Burns believes the wording of the law is outdated. It has become more common for restaurants to serve an alcoholic beverage.

Jessica Holman, a server at Daq's Wings and Grill, agrees the terms need to be thrown out.

"I feel safer with them having [guns] in case something ever did arise and somebody got ignorant and decided they wanted to act a fool, they would be here," she said. "They wouldn't have to leave, go get their gun and then come back to settle the dispute."

For the same reason Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator wants to see the law changed.

"If you're not drinking, you should be armed is the way I look at it," said Prator. "That's what you pay us for. That's what you expect out of us. That's why we go through the extensive back grounds and psychological's and the things we have to do to get into law enforcement."

But it's the presence of alcohol that could worry some folks about the change in the law. A change Burns said most did not know was needed until now.

"Look at how well our men and women in uniform have performed in all these restaurants for all these years. All I'm trying to do is change a law that says they're inadvertently breaking the law. I'm not trying to change how they do their job or how they have their off time."

Burns said his bill is supported by the Louisiana chapters of the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations. He hopes with some badges behind him he can get this bill passed this time.

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