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LA must pursue laws safeguarding firearms rights

Even as a special session generally devoted to fiscal matters – more specifically excuses to raise taxes – looms, the Louisiana Legislature’s regular session approaches and presents the state a chance to follow the lead of other states this year in safeguarding Second Amendment rights and the additional public safety benefits that come from that.

Some states, in light of the occasional but all too regular occurrences of shootings on college campuses, will review legislation this year to allow concealed weapons carried on school property by qualified registrants, not just by public safety personnel. Prior to 2012, Louisiana legislators typically filed similar but unsuccessful bills, yet that seemed to dry up with a new set of lawmakers.

The case to enact a law like this remains as compelling as it has in the past. At the theoretical level, human psychology and, at the empirical level, data continue to bear out that if those who intend to bring harm against others see the chances increased that they could face firearms in opposition, the less likely they become to use deadly force. Poorly-reasoned inferior analysis trying to assert the opposite fails to pass muster.

In an attempt to keep higher education institutions’ ability to impose a ban, some administrators now additionally argue that the higher chances of students’ desire for suicide and of firearm use by those engaging in binge drinking at colleges would create more carnage. Yet these say more about colleges’ failings to provide services to address mental illness and to educate young adults to abjure alcohol abuse than provide any justification to curtail Second Amendment rights and to elevate risks of shootings, and represents treating the symptoms rather than the disease.

Along with this reform, Louisiana also should pass a law to protect the gun industry from inappropriate discrimination in access to business services, particularly from the insurance industry. Anecdotal evidence continues to mount that some insurers in blanket fashion refuse to insure establishments that manufacture or sell guns and/or ammunition while welcoming all other businesses under commercial policies. This appears to derive from the Pres. Barack Obama Administration’s move a few years ago to allow financial institutions greater latitude to discriminate in doing business with alleged “high risk” industries, lumping in firearms firms.

This appears to have trickled down in insurer guidelines that prices in risk arbitrarily, even though the program supposedly ended. Legislation would prevent pricing or refusal to insure based more on prejudice against the industry than actual evaluable conditions of particular individual businesses.

If insurers can decide on the basis of politics to set higher rates or not to write insurance at all concerning the gun industry as a whole, ignoring the usual underwriting standards, this would lead to higher insurance prices for these firms, which they would pass along to consumers and ultimately would discourage purchases. In turn, this reduces public safety, for the reasons noted above, as well as limits citizens’ protection against potentially tyrannical government. As such, for the good of the public states must pass laws to ensure that political fad and prejudice does not inhibit the gun industry from getting a fair shake from insurers. These laws would not force insurers to write policies to the gun industry, but just guarantee fair treatment.

On this account and with concealed carry at colleges, Louisiana in its upcoming regular legislative session should seek to emulate these other states’ efforts.

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