Lawmaker proposes safety course for all Louisiana gun purchases - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Lawmaker proposes safety course for all Louisiana gun purchases

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River Ridge, La. - Gun control continues to be a fiery issue across the nation. And while Democrats and Republicans try to craft a compromise on Capitol Hill, a Louisiana lawmaker is working to address safety concerns in the wake of a weapon buying frenzy.

The Shooters' Club in River Ridge is popping. The range is lined up with men and women honing their skills with powerful weapons.

Patrick Berrigan is a security guard. He says he has a lifetime of experience with weapons. "Growing up my parents taught me how to be safe with firearms and I assume that most other people who operate firearms were taught the same way," he said.

State Representative Austin Badon (D- New Orleans) isn't counting on that. "Firearm sales are going through the roof right now," said Badon. "Everybody is buying firearms. People are buying firearms and they have no earthly idea as to how to operate those firearms."

There are currently no Louisiana laws requiring any type of education for purchase, but that could change this year as Representative Badon prepares a bill for the upcoming legislative session.

"It's a common sense approach," said Badon. "It's a common sense thing that in order to purchase a firearm, you need to take a safety course. You need to know how to operate that firearm."

Badon says the safety course should cover things like handling a gun, storing a gun and the legal responsibilities of owning a gun. "This isn't about people who abide by the law and people who don't abide by the law," said Badon. "This is about public safety. This is about preventing accidents within our homes and within our communities."

He says the law could also cut down on straw purchases. That's when someone with a criminal history recruits someone to buy a gun for them. He says it's often a girlfriend. "If she has to go and take a class and pass the class, it's going to be more difficult for that transaction to take place."

The proposed safety course requirement is getting mixed reviews at The Shooters' Club.

"If more people are educated the right way with regards to firearms, that can't be a bad thing," said one man.

"Another law to make everybody take a safety course is useless if we can't impose it on the criminals," said another.

Security Officer Patrick Berrigan says the course law sounds like a good idea. "As far as laws go, I mean, I can't see it being one that's hurtful. Safety is always a good thing, especially when you're handling a firearm."

The next legislative session begins April 8th. If the proposed gun safety course requirement becomes law, a concealed weapons course would meet the safety training requirements. However, Badon says he may propose adding some elements to the course.

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