La. senator drops ‘firearms freedom’ bill

Published 11:38 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A challenge to federal gun regulations in Louisiana was scrapped Tuesday by a state senator before any debate.

Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, told a Senate judiciary committee that he’s dropping the proposed Louisiana Firearms Freedom Act, which sought to exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions, because of budgetary concerns.

At least a half-dozen states have passed similar ‘‘firearms freedom’’ laws, arguing guns made in a state that remain in that state aren’t subject to interstate commerce laws and can’t be regulated by Congress. Other states are considering the idea. Montana’s law is the subject of a federal court lawsuit.

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Adley said he filed the legislation to support other states that have already passed the law. But he told the Senate Judiciary B Committee the implications could be costly for the state.

The state would have to bear the cost of the firearms regulations if the federal government doesn’t do it, and Adley said Louisiana can’t afford that in the middle of a budget crisis.

‘‘I wanted to show support,’’ he said. ‘‘But it has come to my attention that it creates a number of other problems. We would be taking it upon ourselves to regulate the issue.’’

Adley also noted the National Rifle Association hasn’t taken a position on the legislation, perhaps lessening the push to pass the bill in Louisiana.

Other measures are still pending at the Louisiana Capitol to loosen restrictions on firearms in the state, with lawmakers proposing to allow handguns at state parks, in churches and near school yards. Gun control groups call the proposals troubling, while gun rights advocates say the bills seek to protect constitutional rights and let people defend themselves.