Judge: Louisiana law banning felons from owning guns is unconstitutional

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, March 21, 2013 16:45 EDT
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A judge ruled Thursday that a Louisiana law prohibiting felons from carrying firearms was in violation of a recently ratified constitutional amendment, according to The Times-Pacayune.

“The courts cannot question the wisdom of fundamental law and frustrate the will of the people; their function is to interpret and apply that law,” he wrote. “After reviewing the law and applying a strict scrutiny standard, the Court finds La R.S. 14:95.1 unconstitutional in its entirety.”

Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment last November to subject any gun law to the highest standard of scrutiny by a court, a level of judicial review that few laws pass. Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, boasted that no state “has passed a right to keep and bear arms constitutional amendment as strong as Louisiana’s.”

Derbigny ruled the law was “not narrowly tailored to achieve the government’s interest.” The law applied to all felons, requiring the state to produce compelling evidence that felons in general should not be allowed to possess firearms.

The case involved a man who was convicted of attempted simple burglary, a felony crime, and later caught possessing firearms. The man’s attorneys argued that although the state had a compelling interest to prevent certain violent felons from owning guns, it could not provide compelling evidence that the same should be true for all felons.

The case now moves to the state Supreme Court.

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["Man With Gun" on Shutterstock]

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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