Louisiana has relatively weak laws to disarm hate that allow people to keep and access firearms, including assault weapons, after they have been convicted of violent hate crimes.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Louisiana
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Some access||Some access||Some access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Some access||Some access||Some access|
Louisiana law makes it a hate crime to commit an offense because of the victim’s actual or perceived “race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry,” among other protected characteristics.1 However, people convicted of hate crimes in Louisiana serve their sentence consecutively with the sentence for their underlying offense, and state law does not otherwise reclassify the severity of offenses committed as hate crimes.
Louisiana prohibits people convicted of felonies from accessing firearms if their felony offense is defined as a “crime of violence” or involved felony misuse of a weapon.2 People convicted of such felonies are also restricted from accessing firearms for a temporary ten-year period after their release from confinement, probation, or parole. (Federal firearm laws are broader, so people convicted of felonies in Louisiana are generally permanently prohibited from accessing firearms under federal law).3 Louisiana generally does not prohibit people convicted of violent misdemeanors from accessing firearms, and also does not make misdemeanors punishable by a term long enough to trigger federal firearm restrictions either.4
As a result, people convicted of violent hate crimes are only prohibited from accessing firearms in Louisiana, under state and federal law, if they are convicted of felonies (for a 10-year period under state law). Louisiana generally classifies violent crimes as felonies if they involve intentional infliction of serious physical injury,5 or the use or threatened use of a firearm.6
However, those convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors remain eligible to access firearms, under state and federal law, including crimes involving intentional physical injury,7 attempted violence, threats with weapons other than firearms,8 and other credible threats of violence.9
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- La. Stat. Ann. § 14:107.2(A). (Notably, the statute does not include a victim’s ethnicity or gender identity as protected categories).
- La. Stat. Ann. § 14:95.1; La. Stat. Ann. § 14:2(B).
- Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 921(a)(20)(B).
- See State v. Jones, 404 So.2d 1197 (1981); La. Stat. Ann. § 14:107.2(A).
- See, e.g., felony “Second degree battery,” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:34.1.
- See, e.g., felony “Aggravated battery,” “Aggravated assault with a firearm,” and “Terrorizing” La. Stat. Ann. §§ 14:34.1; 14:37.4; 14:40.1..
- See, e.g., misdemeanor “Simple battery,” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:35.
- See, e.g., misdemeanor “Aggravated assault,” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:37.
- See, e.g., misdemeanor “Simple Assault,” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:38.