HB 140 Would Force Cities to Allow Guns in Recreational Centers Where Children Play
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, today criticized Governor Edwards for signing HB 140, which eliminates the authority of local governments to prohibit guns in certain businesses and public buildings, including businesses that serve alcohol and buildings where children play.
“This new law will add public health risks into our communities at the worst possible time,” said Julia Bishop, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at Tulane University. “What’s more, it will contribute to the disproportionate impact that gun violence takes on Black people in Louisiana.”
“The risks of gun violence have only increased during the pandemic, exacerbating its disproportionate impact on Black communities,” said Angelle Bradford, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Governor Edwards needs to step up to the plate and lead in addressing Louisiana’s gun violence crisis, but instead, he signed this new law that will put more lives at risk.”
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Louisiana, and Black children and teens in Louisiana are four times more likely to die by gun than their white peers. 70 percent of Louisiana voters support allowing local governments to prohibit the carrying of firearms in certain commercial establishments and public buildings, such as places where alcohol is served and buildings where children play. This includes 64 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of gun-owning households, and 69 percent of households with permit holders.
HB 140 forces city-run recreational facilities to allow guns in community buildings where children play. Cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans have chosen not to allow guns in recreation centers run by the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, respectively. But this bill would force mayors and police chiefs to allow guns in community centers where families gather. The bill would also impose new security costs on cities, compelled to allow guns into sensitive areas where children play, at a time that they can least afford them.
HB 140 invalidates decisions made by localities including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Thibodaux, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Hammond, Port Allen and Mandeville to prohibit firearms in all businesses where alcohol is sold and consumed. Under this bill, Louisiana municipalities would have no authority to prohibit guns in such places. Cities and other municipalities should have the flexibility to make their own public safety decisions, especially in these uncertain times.