Bill allowing guns in restaurants heads to Jindal's desk - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Bill allowing guns in restaurants heads to Jindal's desk

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

A bill that would allow guns inside restaurants that sell alcohol awaits Gov. Bobby Jindal's signature.

The thought of freely allowing concealed gun permit-holders to carry their weapons into alcohol-selling restaurants across the state doesn't sit well with some. But state lawmakers passed a bill that would allow concealed weapons inside these establishments, and also allow off-duty police officers to carry guns into bars.

"We have thousands and thousands of people that are permitted to carry guns, and they're not out there shooting people on a regular basis protecting themselves, but they have a right to do so if they need it," said State Rep. Joe Lopinto:

Lopinto, R- Metairie, authored the measure. He said the concealed-carry law already allows permit-holders to carry into restaurants, but state criminal law banning guns at alcohol beverage outlets didn't include restaurants.

"That is what we tried to clear up, is to allow that person that doesn't drink, that is not going to be under the influence, still have the right to protect themselves, to carry their gun, that not only were they trained to do, that they were permitted to do by the state," Lopinto said.

Opponents speaking out against the bill said the combination could lead to problems.

"I'll agree with them," said Lopinto. "Guns and alcohol don't mix."

Lopinto points out, however, that concealed gun permit-holders already face tough restrictions against drinking while carrying a weapon.

Otherwise, he said they should have a right to protect themselves inside restaurants.

"You never know when something is going to happen," he said. "You know, whether it's a police officer or whether it's a concealed carry permit-holder, you never know when something's going to happen. And the reality of it is, in today's day and age, hopefully they never have to use it. Hopefully they never have to pull that gun."

The measure passed easily through both the House and Senate. According to our partners at NOLA.com, Jindal's office confirms that he will sign it into law.

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