David Jones/ Fox 8/ May 2

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – With a little more than two months until Louisiana’s new “permitless” carry legislation takes effect, New Orleans leaders continue to push for carveouts for the city but keep hitting walls in the legislature.

Governor Jeff Landry has not taken a public stance on carveouts, but one local crime watchdog tells Fox 8 it appears the Governor has gone back on private commitments made to appease New Orleans leaders and the business community in the city.

“The legislation that was passed from committee doesn’t reflect what the governor promised me and other people in the business community,” said Rafael Goyeneche, President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “I would rather receive no legislation than support bad legislation.”

Goyeneche is referring to Senate Bill 419 by River Ridge Republican Senator Kirk Talbot.

When SB419 went before a committee earlier this week, it was supported by a number of New Orleans officials and law enforcement leaders.

Law enforcement have contended for months that concealed carry laws, as they stand today, are an effective tool in the belt of officers who often spot individuals with obvious signs of weapons and make stops which then lead to arrests.

The original version of Talbot’s bill would have exempted the entirety of the French Quarter from “permitless” carry, which is set to take effect in Louisiana on July 4.

But Talbot’s bill was heavily amended by lawmakers, stripping it of the French Quarter exemption, and only increasing fees for negligent carrying of a firearm in the French Quarter from 500 dollars to 1,000 dollars.

“When we see the bulge, we would have the opportunity with the tool to stop you, to see whether or not you’re illegally carrying,” NOPD Supt. Anne Kirkpatrick told the committee. “This has gutted that tool.”

Goyeneche said, during a private conversation he had with Governor Landry earlier this year during the special session on crime, he was assured that Landry was supportive of carveouts to appease local officials and business leaders in New Orleans.

“When I spoke to him and told him that I needed his support, he told me that we were going to come up with something that would be acceptable,” Goyeneche said. “His refusal to honor a commitment is, I think, a setback to the commitment he made to New Orleans for public safety, because this is really a public safety issue.”

“Partisan politics is driving this legislation.”

When the NOPD ramped up proactive policing in 2022 and the number of gun arrests citywide began increasing, Goyeneche said, crime went down.

“The department put a lot of emphasis on gun enforcement, and as their emphasis on gun enforcement increased, we saw the violent crime rate come down,” he said. “When they observe someone carrying a concealed weapon under the current law, that gives them the authority to go up to those individuals, ask them if they have a permit, and if the answer is no, then the police can begin to make an arrest for that.”

Talbot declined an interview on the bill, while Governor Landry’s office did not respond to a Fox 8 request asking about his stance on carveouts.

“Even with a carveout, that’s just not popular by people in rural areas because their position is that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” said Robert Collins, a political analyst with Dillard University. “The governor is basically following the wishes of his constituents who are basically saying, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t want any sort of restrictions on our gun rights.’”