Strict Scrutiny Amendment Passes in Louisiana

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posted on November 8, 2012
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Louisiana voters approved Amendment 2 by a significant margin, with 75 percent support, making Louisiana the first state to establish a "strict scrutiny" standard for any proposed restrictions to firearms use and ownership.

The measure received support from the NRA.

Amendment 2 reads:

"The right of individuals to acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for defense of life and liberty, and for all other legitimate purposes is fundamental and shall not be denied or infringed, and any restriction on this right must be subjected to strict scrutiny."

The legal standard established by the amendment requires courts, when asked, to determine whether the state's gun laws demonstrate "a compelling governmental interest" and are "narrowly defined." If such challenges fail to meet those criteria, they are to be thrown out as unconstitutional.

The amendment was considered necessary to due to a ruling made by the state Supreme Court in 2001, which left Louisianans with little protection from potential overreaching state-imposed gun control.

Strengthening Louisiana's state constitutional provision was considered critical to provide a defense against possible future efforts to infringe on Louisianan's right to keep and bear arms, or action in the event the Heller or McDonald decisions are overturned by future U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

"This is a truly historic day for Louisiana. We are sending a message to the rest of the nation of our strong support of the right to keep and bear arms," state Sen. Neil Riser, (R-Columbia), who led passage of the proposition in the Legislature, said in a statement on Nov. 7.

Louisiana Amendment 2 garnered more pre-election attention than any of the nine appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot in The Bayou State.

Sen. Riser said he thought the large amount of interest and strong support was due to Louisiana residents' understanding of how the federal government and other states are "trending toward anti-gun laws."

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