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Louisiana rep whose granddaughter uses AR-15 rifle files concealed carry expansion

Greg Hilburn
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A Louisiana lawmaker who says his 6-year-old granddaughter is "quite proficient" with an AR-15 assault rifle she used to kill her first deer last year has filed a bill to expand gun rights in the state.

Republican Oil City state Rep. Danny McCormick's House Bill 131 would allow Louisiana adults 18 and older to carry handguns without permits or training as is currently required.

"The question is why don't we trust law-abiding citizens with their Second Amendment Rights?" McCormick said.

It will be the fourth time McCormick has carried the measure, which cleared the House easily last year before it stalled in the Senate in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting where a gunman killed 19 children and two adults.

This year's measure will be debated in the wake of the most recent school shooting in Nashville where three children and three adults were killed Monday.

McCormick noted that all school shootings "happen in gun-free zones." He believes many mass shootings could be mitigated if another armed man or woman could take out the shooter with his or her own weapon.

"The duration of a mass shooting always depends on the arrival of a second gun," McCormick posted on his Facebook page.

Supporters of McCormick's legislation refer to it as "constitutional carry" because they believe the Second Amendment already grants that right. Twenty-five states have enacted similar concealed carry expansion laws, including all three of Louisiana's neighboring states Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

"It should be legal already," McCormick said.

Louisiana is known as an "open carry" state, which means people can carry visible firearms without a permit or training.

Opponents, like those representing the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, have warned allowing concealed carry without permits elevates the potential of illegal gun violence or accidental shootings.

But McCormick said expanding concealed carry "isn't going to create chaos or turn us into the wild, wild West."

McCormick said the gun rights expansion was the top priority for constituents in his rural northwestern Louisiana district.

The following is a screenshot of a Facebook video post with Republican Oil City Rep. Danny McCormick and his granddaughter, 6, who used the AR-15 assault rifle shown in the video to kill her first deer. The screenshot is used with McCormick's permission.

He said the bill is particularly important to him because he wants his four granddaughters ages 10, 2 and twin 6-year-olds to be able to protect themselves as adults.

"It doesn't make sense that they could walk into a store with a (pistol) strapped on their hip but they can't put a snub-nosed .38 (pistol) in their purse to protect themselves from murder or rape," he said. "My granddaughters are quite proficient with weapons."

McCormick posted a video of himself and one of his 6-year-old granddaughters on his Facebook page featuring the AR-15 she used to kill her first deer in November.

"She used an AR-15, which my anti-gun people like to call assault weapons, but as you can see (she) uses it to hunt with," McCormick said in the video. "We're so proud of her."

Lawmakers passed a concealed carry bill in 2021 that was nearly identical to McCormick's legislation, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the measure.

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Edwards has generally been a reliable vote for gun rights expansion bills, but he said he believes the current law requiring in-person training and a permit "strikes the right balance."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.