Louisiana’s Latest Failure: Amendment to State Constitution May Make It Easier to Challenge Gun Laws

Posted on November 27, 2012

Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com The Times-Picayune

On Election Day, the voters of Louisiana approved a ballot initiative that may make it easier for criminals to challenge the state’s gun laws in court. That NRA-sponsored initiative – the first of its kind in the nation – amended the state constitution’s right to bear arms provision to force courts considering state constitutional challenges to gun laws to apply “strict scrutiny,” the highest judicial standard.

The new provision is outrageous because it will require courts to review laws under a certain standard, rather than letting them decide for themselves what standard to use, as they traditionally have done. Strict scrutiny is often described as “strict in theory, fatal in fact,” because the vast majority of laws subject to strict scrutiny are found to be unconstitutional. Even the Supreme Court has not advocated for the use of strict scrutiny in cases evaluating laws under the Second Amendment. Requiring such a high standard could jeopardize even modest laws to reduce gun violence in Louisiana. This is especially alarming in a state that, in 2010, had the second highest number of firearm deaths per capita.

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