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Louisiana Gun Control Laws

Louisiana gun control laws are among the least restrictive in the United States. Louisiana does not require a license or permit to own a firearm. It does not place state restrictions on the possession or ownership of assault weapons or large-capacity magazines. 

Louisiana also does not require universal background checks before gun purchases. Under federal law, all purchases and transfers made through federally licensed gun dealers must include a background check. Purchases and transfers made through private sales are not covered.

Efforts at gun control at the state level must take into account the concerns of gun owners. Louisiana is a destination for hunting, fishing, and many other outdoor activities. The Louisiana Constitution states:

“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."

In reviewing various challenges to state gun laws, the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that the right to bear arms is not absolute. It has upheld restrictions prohibiting possession of firearms by felons and handguns by juveniles. It has likewise validated the state's concealed carry law, finding it presents a compelling state interest.

Louisiana does not have a waiting period for gun purchases but does have specific requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Under Louisiana law, you must be a resident of the state and at least 21 years old to obtain a concealed handgun permit. You must not fall under any state or federal categories that prohibit firearm possession and must meet all other requirements set out in the law. 

Louisiana is a "shall issue" state which means that if you meet the criteria, the state will issue the permit. The Louisiana State Police provide detailed information on how to apply for a permit.

Louisiana law also places restrictions on the carrying of firearms, whether concealed or open, in certain locations. These include:

  • A law enforcement office, station, or building
  • A prison, jail, or detention facility
  • A courthouse or courtroom
  • A public building used for meetings of the governing authority of a locality, such as a city council or school board
  • The state capitol building
  • Prohibited locations within an airport facility
  • A place of worship, unless authorized by the administrator/leader
  • A school, school campus, or school bus
  • A polling place
  • A parade or demonstration that was issued a permit by the government
  • An establishment with a permit to sell alcoholic beverages
  • Private residences, unless authorized by the resident

Efforts in the state legislature to pass a broad, permitless carry law in Louisiana were not successful in 2022. As a result of compromise, the state did approve permitless carry for any active-duty military or veteran who is a resident of Louisiana (See L.R.S. 14:95 M).

Louisiana also has a preemption statute. In most circumstances, this law prevents cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans from enacting local laws that provide greater gun restrictions than the state.

Learn more about Louisiana gun control laws in the table below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws for more general information.

 

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Louisiana Revised Statutes:

Illegal Arms

The following firearms are illegal to possess:

  • Illegally obtained firearms
  • Firearms where either the serial number or individual identifying mark has been intentionally obliterated, altered, removed, or concealed
  • Machine guns

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Louisiana.

Who May Not Own

People are prohibited from owning a firearm if they have been convicted of, or have been found not guilty by reason of insanity for, a crime of violence that is:

  • A felony
  • Burglary
  • Felony illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities
  • Manufacture or possession of a delayed action incendiary device
  • Manufacture or possession of a bomb
  • Possession of a firearm while in the possession of, or during the sale or distribution of, a controlled dangerous substance
  • Any crime which is defined as a sex offense

Additionally, people who have been convicted of an attempt to commit the above-listed crimes may not own a firearm.

Others prohibited from owning a firearm include:

  • A juvenile under 18 years of age (handgun prohibition)
  • Those convicted of a domestic abuse battery offense within the last 10 years
  • Those convicted of more than one battery of a dating partner within the past 10 years
  • Those convicted of battery of a dating partner when it involved strangulation or burning within the past 10 years
License Required?

 

No. You do not need a license to purchase a gun in Louisiana.

Conceal Carry License Required?

Yes. You need a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun, with exceptions for law enforcement and members of the Armed Forces.

Open Carried Allowed?

Yes. Louisiana permits open carry. However, there may be limitations on certain locations.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry Permit

Under state law, you must meet the following qualifications to get a concealed handgun permit:

  • Be a resident of the state of Louisiana
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Complete an approved handgun safety training course
  • Not have a mental or physical disease, illness, or intellectual disability that prevents the safe handling of a handgun
  • Not be a felon prohibited from possessing a firearm
  • Not have been committed for the abuse of a controlled dangerous substance, been found guilty of a misdemeanor crime relating to a controlled dangerous substance within the last five years, or be presently charged with such a crime
  • Not chronically or habitually abuse alcohol (A DUI conviction is evidence of alcohol abuse)
  • Not have a conviction for a crime of violence with a penalty of one or more years in prison
  • Not have conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence within the last five years
  • Not be a fugitive of justice
  • Not be an unlawful user or addicted to marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotic drugs
  • Not have been adjudicated to be mentally deficient or been committed to a mental institution, unless your rights have been restored
  • Not be an illegal alien
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Not have a history of violent behavior
  • Not be ineligible under federal law

Machine Gun Laws

It is unlawful to manufacture, transfer, or possess a machine gun in Louisiana except in the following circumstances:

  • Under the authority of the United States, or any department or agency thereof
  • Under the authority of any state of the United States, or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof
  • Any machine gun that is lawfully manufactured, transferred, or possessed under federal law

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

The penalties for illegally carrying a firearm are:

  • First Offense: Up to six months in jail; a fine of up to $500; or both
  • Second Offense: Up to five years in prison
  • Third Offense or Greater: Up to 10 years in prison, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence
  • During a crime of violence: From one to two years in prison; a fine of up to $2,000; or both
  • During a drug offense: From five to 10 years in prison
  • During a Second or Greater drug offense: From 20-30 years in prison
The penalties for illegal possession of a firearm with certain prior felony convictions are:
  • From five to 20 years in prison; a fine of $1,000 to $5,000
The penalties for illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile are:
  • First Offense: From 90 days to six months incarceration; a fine of up to $100; or both
  • Second Offense: Up to two years incarceration; a fine of up to $500; or both
  • Third Offense or Greater: Up to five years incarceration; a fine of up to $1,000; or both
The penalties for illegal possession after conviction for certain domestic abuse battery are:
  • From one to 20 years in prison, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence; a fine of $1,000 to $5,000

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Illegal possession of a firearm on school grounds is punishable by up to five years in prison. If the offense involves the firearm being used in a crime of violence, then the penalties adjust to one to five years in prison; a fine of up to $2,000; or both.

Red Flag Law?

No.

Universal Background Checks?

No.

Stand Your Ground Law?

Yes. Louisiana enacted a Stand Your Ground law in 2014, allowing the use of force in self-defense without the duty to retreat.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts including federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Louisiana Criminal Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Louisiana Gun Control Laws From an Attorney

If you would like to know more about Louisiana gun laws, there are many attorneys throughout the state with criminal defense experience who may be able to help. An attorney can provide advice regarding criminal charges. They may also assist you in efforts to reclaim unlawfully confiscated firearms or to restore an improperly revoked concealed handgun permit.

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