Virus Outbreak Louisiana

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about the coronavirus outbreak and state vaccination efforts, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards indicated Thursday that he will use his veto pen to strike down a bill that would remove the requirement that gun owners have a permit to carry concealed firearms, if the proposal reaches his desk.

The Democratic governor defended the current permitting process as appropriate to require several hours of training on safety and marksmanship and to provide gun owners with information about how they should interact with police if they carry a concealed weapon.

“All of that it seems to me is proper. That’s the right balance to strike. And I feel very strongly about that. I also feel very strongly that a considerable majority of the people in Louisiana support the system we currently have,” Edwards said when asked about the proposal.

Sen. Jay Morris, a Monroe Republican, wants to allow anyone 21 years or older in Louisiana — if the person isn’t barred from having a firearm because of a violent crime conviction or some other legal prohibition — to carry a concealed handgun.

The proposal awaits debate on the Senate floor after winning approval from a Senate committee on a partisan basis, with Republicans supporting the measure while Democrats opposed it.

Supporters argued the permitting requirements violate their constitutional rights to bear arms, while opponents argued removal of the permitting could jeopardize public safety by eliminating a requirement for training on gun use.

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