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Lake life

Gun rights in the news

There is a lot of news on the “guns and arms” front lately and none of it involves hunting. Well, not directly.

First,  Louisiana voters recently overwhelmingly approved a proposed constitutional amendment giving Louisiana the strongest gun laws in the nation. This is the first “strict scrutiny” law passed in the nation.  Amendment 2 passed with nearly 75% of the vote.

Usually guns are associated with hunters. Hunters carry the banner of organizations like the National Rifle Association and are at the forefront of working maintain the right to keep and bear arms. But today a majority of gun owners aren’t. Many, many people have purchased guns and taken gun courses for self protection. Those two groups together, plus folks that just plain old believe in the Constitution, passed the new amendment.

One area legislator explained it like this: “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,” said state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia. Riser was the sponsor of the proposition in the state Legislature. He said all along that the strong support for the amendment was due to the federal government and some liberal states trending toward stronger anti-gun laws. Basically what the change does is require “strict scrutiny” of any restrictions on the right to own guns. The legal standard would require courts, when asked, to determine whether the state’s gun laws demonstrate “a compelling governmental interest” and are “narrowly defined.” If not, they are to be thrown out as unconstitutional.

Second, here’s some news on the national and international front:  Last week the day following the election, the United States officially reversed policy and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate international arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus. The decision, announced in a statement by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush’s administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would support the talks as long as the negotiating forum, the so-called Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, operates under the rules of consensus decision-making.  Can you say International gun control?  Critics say this is just another step in the direction of controlling arms at every level, including challenging the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  Keep your eyes and ears open on this topic.

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