Louisianans will continue to be able to buy assault weapons before they can buy beers, lawmakers decided Tuesday.
Senators rejected the proposal to ban the sale of assault rifles to people under the age of 21 by a vote of 26-9. State law currently allows assault weapons to be sold to anyone 18 or older.
Democratic Sen. Troy Carter framed his bill as a common-sense gun restriction needed in the wake of mass shootings such as the February massacre at a Florida high school were 17 people were killed.
“I think we would all agree that any step that we could take to save a life, that will give a young person in a classroom some comfort, it’s worth it,” the New Orleans Democrat said, prefacing his comments by making clear that he is a gun enthusiast who supports the right to bear arms.
Opponents argued that stopping the sale of some assault weapons would not stop people from killing each other.
“How do you fix that person who is delirious, who thinks about killing people, killing children,” said Mack “Bodi” White, a Baton Rouge Republican.
Separately, a Senate committee Tuesday narrowly advanced a measure sponsored by Carter that would prohibit anyone in Louisiana from buying or selling devices known as bump stocks, which can make semi-automatic rifles mimic the firing action of a fully automatic weapon.
That measure moves next to the full Senate, where it appears to face a tough road to passage.
State lawmakers have filed roughly two dozen bills involving guns this year, most of which stem from the deadly school shooting in Florida.
Democrats are pushing firearms restrictions. Several Republicans have proposed measures adding more firearms on school grounds, though legislators have so far been hesitant to take that step.
Senate Bill 274: www.legis.la.gov