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2:01 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Orleans Parish Judge Rules Felon Firearms Ban Unconstitutional

An Orleans Parish judge has ruled that the state law banning felons from owning firearms is unconstitutional, based on a state constitutional amendment ensuring an absolute right to bear arms in Louisiana, according to a report from the Times-Picayune.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Darryl Derbigny issued the ruling Thursday, not only throwing out the case against a convicted burglar who was found riding in a car with a handgun and an AK-47, but declaring the entire statute banning felons from owning firearms unconstitutional.

According to the newspaper:

The Orleans Parish public defenders office challenged the constitutionality of the statute on behalf of a half-dozen clients, all charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The attorneys concede that public safety is a compelling interest to bar violent offenders, like murderers or armed robbers, from possessing weapons. But the law also bars people convicted of a number of less obviously violent felonies from possessing guns.

The state constitutional amendment establishing an absolute right to possess firearms was passed last November by a margin of 1,331,891 to 481,360.

The ruling will now go to the Louisiana Supreme Court, who will make the final determination on the statute's constitutionality.

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