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Upcoming ballot hosts new gun protection

Posted: Updated: Oct 8, 2012 06:24 PM

MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - The Bayou State is one step away from what some lawmakers are calling the strongest protection for gun rights in the country.

That's if enough Louisianians vote for Constitutional Amendment #2, written by Senator Neil Riser.

The amendment reads that the right to bear arms is fundamental and if any future law tries to restrict it, it will be put under strict scrutiny.

Strict scrutiny are the keywords here.

It's the protection that is the backbone of the amendment.

"Strict scrutiny is the highest level of protection of a constitutional right, reserved for protection of rights such as freedom of speech, right to vote, etc," Riser said.

That means all future laws trying to restrict gun rights will have to present compelling interest before they go through.

"You have to have a reason for a law," said Riser. "You just can't go out and pass a law and then not have a compelling interest. That infringes upon your Second Amendment right."

For Monroe gun store owners, more protection for their guns is welcome.

"It sounds great on the surface. Take away people's guns, there'd be less violence. But it does exactly the opposite of that," Vice President of TP Outdoors, Bill Petrus, said. "You take away guns, only the people that are criminals will have guns and that leaves the rest of us unable to protect ourselves."

But the amendment doesn't touch current permit laws.

Guns still aren't allowed on school or courthouse property.

The amendment also doesn't hold up beyond the Bayou State's borders.

"You have to respect the laws of other states," Riser said.

But this amendment could solidify a person's gun rights as much as their right to free speech is and many gun owners call that good news.

"It's really scary that the majority of the legislatures could vote our gun rights or some of our gun rights away from us without us having any say-so in it," Petrus said. "So this will give us one more step of protection."

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