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New Orleans Police Department Implements Questionable “Gun-Free Zone” in French Quarter in Response to Permitless Carry Law

NEW ORLEANS, LA — As Louisiana’s new permitless carry law is set to take effect on July 4, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has devised a controversial strategy to restrict concealed carry in the French Quarter. By designating the 8th District police station as a vocational school, the NOPD has created a “gun-free zone” within 1,000 feet of the station, which includes significant portions of Bourbon Street.

Louisiana law prohibits carrying firearms, openly or concealed, within 1,000 feet of a school campus. This restriction applies to any elementary, secondary, high school, vocational-technical school, college, or university. While concealed carry permit holders are exempt from this rule, those relying on the new permitless carry law will find themselves restricted.

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Local leaders and law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the permitless carry law on public safety, especially in tourist-heavy areas like the French Quarter. Efforts to obtain legislative carve-outs for the French Quarter were unsuccessful, leading to this creative but controversial workaround.

The NOPD’s move to classify the 8th District headquarters as a vocational-technical school allows them to exploit existing firearm-free zone laws, effectively banning permitless carry in the vicinity. This strategy has obviously raised eyebrows and sparked debate over its legality and ethics.

“Having the school here at the NOPD, where there will be continued training, is a great way to use all of the laws that are on the books to protect people and to maintain responsible gun ownership on Bourbon Street,” said District Attorney Jason Williams via WDSU. “It will also create this ripple effect of creating new opportunities to keep guns out of dangerous places.”

This approach underscores the potential overreach of using existing laws to circumvent new legislation. This move by the NOPS undermines the spirit of the permitless carry law and sets a concerning precedent.

Moreover, this measure only affects those carrying under the permitless carry provision. Concealed carry permit holders remain unaffected and can still carry within the 1,000 feet zone of the newly designated “school.”

The NOPD has undertaken mandatory training to ensure officers understand the limitations and enforcement of the new law. They will focus on prohibiting firearm possession by individuals with alcohol levels above 0.05, those under the influence of drugs, formerly incarcerated felons, and individuals with court orders prohibiting gun ownership. Additionally, weapons are banned at parades, demonstrations requiring permits, and establishments serving alcohol.

Prominent signs will be posted throughout the French Quarter, marking the gun-free zones to ensure public awareness and compliance.

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