In Louisiana, voters in 2012 revised the state constitutional right to bear arms to read, “The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.” In yesterday’s State v. Eberhardt (La. July 1, 2014), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that the state ban on felons’ possessing guns remains constitutional (paragraph break added):
We conclude that LSA–R.S. 14:95.1 serves a compelling governmental interest that has long been jurisprudentially recognized and is grounded in the legislature’s intent to protect the safety of the general public from felons convicted of specified serious crimes, who have demonstrated a dangerous disregard for the law and the safety of others and who present a potential threat of further or future criminal activity.Further, the law is narrowly tailored in its application to the possession of firearms or the carrying of concealed weapons for a period of only ten years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, and to only those convicted of the enumerated felonies determined by the legislature to be offenses having the actual or potential danger of harm to other members of the general public. [Footnote: We note that Louisiana’s LSA-R.S. 14:95.1 felon-in-possession law is less restrictive than the comparable federal law, which encompasses nearly all felonies and has no ten-year cleansing period.] Under these circumstances, we find “a long history, a substantial consensus, and simple common sense” to be sufficient evidence for even a strict scrutiny review.