The Bill is Dead
Link to Advocate
By JORDAN BLUM
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: May 31, 2007 - Page: 5a
An attempt to close a state “loophole” that allows firearms in college dorms was soundly defeated Wednesday in a House committee after several Second Amendment advocates spoke against it.
House Bill 461 by Rep. Rick Gallot, D-Grambling, attempted to include dorms in the firearm-free school zone portion of state law in order to coincide with university policies, which already ban firearms in dorms.
Gallot had introduced a similar bill in 2003 that died in the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee.
HB461 failed again Wednesday in the same committee by an 8-2 vote.
Gallot introduced the bill again in the wake of the murder of 32 Virginia Tech students last month.
Gallot was left frustrated when the debate focused on constitutional gun rights more than on his actual bill.
“We discussed everything but what this law does,” Gallot said in closing, arguing the bill would have only added more enforcement strength to existing college policies.
Maurice Franks, a Southern University law professor, said Gallot’s bill was “feel good legislation” in the aftermath of Virginia Tech that will only make college campuses more inviting targets for criminals.
“All we’re doing is assuring the criminals their victims won’t be armed,” Franks said.
If licensed concealed gun carriers were able to have guns on campus at Virginia Tech, many lives could have been spared, Franks argued.
Franks said university police officers often are “glorified meter maids” rejected by city police departments.
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Tara Mica said her organization would not support the bill as written.
Rep. Warren Triche, D-Thibodaux, cited the bumper sticker, “When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns.”
Triche also said the state’s firearm-free school zones could be considered unconstitutional.
Gallot attempted to bring the discussion back to point, reiterating the bill only sought to match existing college policies.
State law makes exceptions for licensed weapons in dorms or while going to and from a vehicle and dorm on campus.
For instance, an LSU student with a gun in a dorm room could be expelled under university policy, but not face any legal consequences.
Only Reps. Don Cazayoux, D-New Roads, and Roy Burrell, D-Shreveport, supported Gallot’s bill.