And while the state isn’t going to metaphorically take a ruler and start busting knuckles they are going to try and strengthen the 2nd Amendment. This November, the voters of the Big Easy will go to the polls, not only to elect their representatives, but also to change their constitution with regards to the Second Amendment.
As it stands now, an activist judge in Louisiana can all but strip the residents of their rights if that judge views that keeping and bearing arms is unreasonable. Due to a ruling in 1977, any measure of gun control would be held constitutional so long as it was “reasonable”.
The opening for a liberal attack on the Second Amendment on those grounds is absurd. One could point out that since you cannot carry a firearm in Illinois that it is REASONABLE to make the same prohibition in Louisiana Since Mayor Bloomberg has all but outlawed firearms in New York City, a judge could point to that being a REASONABLE measure in Louisiana. Even while New York City and Illinois are completely unreasonable places with regards to the 2nd Amendment, they could be used as fodder for a liberal judge’s agenda.
Basically, with the lowest level of judicial restraint “legitimate purposes” an activist liberal judge could go right up to the point of a complete ban. They could rule that while you could have a firearm, it needs to be disassembled; the pieces individually locked away with its own individual lock and can only be unlocked with written permission by the local authorities.
I grant you that that is the far reaching extreme but that is what precedent was set in 1977 when the courts ruled:
“The right to keep and bear arms, like other rights guaranteed by our state constitution, is not absolute. We have recognized that such rights may be regulated in order to protect the public health, safety, moralsor general welfare so long as that regulation is a reasonable one.” State v. Amos 343 So.2d 166, 168 (La. 1977)
I emboldened the word “morals”. That means that a judge who is MORALLY opposed to guns can rule based on their own bigotry and ignorance. The Pandora’s Box that can be opened due to such a low level of judicial review is frightening.
Furthermore, the Louisiana Supreme court affirmed a lower courts ruling in 2001 that the state had the power to restrict the Second Amendment for “legitimate purposes”, the weakest of level of judicial review.
So, we find ourselves with Louisiana, whose courts ruled that gun control is not only legal but easily attainable with little interference from that pesky little Constitution thing. This is why New Orleans authorities were allowed to jack boot their way through the city after Hurricane Katrina beating up old women and stealing their guns.
What this referendum in November will do is rewrite the Louisiana State Constitution to read:
“The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Now the words “strict scrutiny” is where many pro gun supporters fly off the track. “All this is the doorway to gun control, this is terrible, shall not be infringed etc.”
Yes and no.
GOA does not support the need for such actions like this referendum because we view the Second Amendment of the US Constitution as the immutable and absolute law of the land with regards to the keeping and bearing of arms in America. Therefore, no state constitution has the right to infringe upon that in any way.
With that being said, the courts have yet to rule in such a proper manner and this is a step in the right direction that severely cripples the gun control crowds ability to do an end around the Constitution via a liberal activist Louisiana judge. As it stands right now, Louisiana does not have any pretense of a right to keep and bear arms. Not when one judge who is morally offended by guns and thinks that denying them to the people is reasonable can do so..
Strict Scrutiny is shy of Shall Not Be Infringed but not by as much as you’d think. Strict Scrutiny, as it relates to the legal process, flips the script on gun control. Where now, Second Amendment supporters have to prove that gun control is unconstitutional, strict scrutiny dictates that gun control is by default unconstitutional and must be proven otherwise. And even if it can be, it must be so narrowly tailored to a single point that it cannot be used with a wide brush to otherwise infringe beyond its initial purpose.
While we wish that states governments and the federal one as well, would just adhere to the Second Amendment as an absolute right, until they do it is important to keep moving in the right direction and this referendum in Louisiana does just that.