What Are the Gun Laws in Louisiana?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms

National Shooting Sports Foundation Hosts Gun Expo Show In Las Vegas
Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Similar to many states in the south, Louisiana gun laws are considered to be lenient. It is a "shall issue" state. A permit to purchase or own a handgun, rifle, or shotgun is not required. Louisiana does not require permits to open carry (openly carrying a firearm in public) shotguns and rifles, however, individuals seeking to open carry handguns must obtain a permit and meet several other qualifiers which are listed below.

Quick Reference

Rifles and Shotguns

  • Permit to purchase long guns? No
  • Registration of long guns? No
  • Licensing of owners of long guns? No
  • Permit to carry long guns? No
  • Permit to open carry long guns? Yes

Handguns

  • Permit to purchase a handgun? No
  • Registration of handguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No
  • Permit to carry handguns? Yes
  • Permit to open carry handguns? Yes

Purchase

No state permit is required for the purchase of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. It is unlawful to sell or deliver firearms or other dangerous weapons to anyone under the age of 18. Lack of knowledge of the minor's age is not a defense.

Possession

No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun, or a handgun. It is illegal for any person who is a national of a country with whom the United States is at war to own, possess, have custody, or use any firearm.

It is unlawful for anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes of violence to possess a firearm for a period of 10 years from the date of completion of the sentence, probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 17 to possess a handgun on his person, but this does not apply to any person under 17 who is attending a hunter's safety or firearms safety course, engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range, hunting or trapping pursuant to a valid license, or traveling to or from one of the above activities.

Carrying

Open carry is generally permitted without a license but may be restricted by local parishes with laws in place before July 15, 1985.

Louisiana is a "shall issue" state for concealed carry. No person is permitted to carry a concealed firearm intentionally without a permit unless one is a peace officer in the performance of his or her official duties.

The Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Services of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections will issue a concealed handgun permit to any citizen who qualifies for a permit. The following qualifications apply.

  • Have training in pistols, revolvers or both.
  • Agree to hold harmless and indemnify the department, the state or any peace officer for any liability arising from the issuance of the permit.
  • Be a resident of the state and have been a resident for six months or longer.
  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Not suffer from mental illness which prevents the safe handling of a firearm.
  • Not be ineligible to possess a firearm by having been convicted of a felony.
  • Not have been committed for the abuse of a controlled substance, or been found guilty of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere relating to a controlled substance within five years.
  • Not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that normal facilities are impaired.
  • Not have entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of a misdemeanor crime of violence within five years of completion of sentence.
  • Not have been convicted of, entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, or not be charged under indictment, or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more.
  • Not be a fugitive from justice.
  • Not be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotic drugs.
  • Not have been adjudicated to be mentally deficient or been committed to a mental institution.
  • Not be an illegal alien.
  • Not have a Dishonorable Discharge from the armed forces.
  • Not have a history of engaging in violent behavior.
  • Not be ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law.

The applicant must demonstrate competency with a handgun by completion of certain specified courses, classes, and programs in firearms safety and training.

The Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Services will, within two working days of the permit application, notify the Chief of Police of the municipality and the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the parish in which the applicant lives of such application. Those officers will have 10 days to forward to the Deputy Secretary information relating to the applicant's legal qualification to receive a permit.

The Deputy Secretary will issue, in a timely matter and without delay, the permit to all qualified applicants. The permit will be valid in all parishes statewide for a term of four years.

A permittee armed with a handgun will notify any police officer who approaches the permittee in an official manner or purpose, that he has a weapon on his person, submit to a pat down, and allow the officer to temporarily disarm him.

Whenever a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe an armed permittee is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance, the officer may take temporary possession of the handgun and request submission to a chemical test.

Whenever an officer is made aware that an individual is behaving in a criminally negligent manner, or is negligent in carrying a handgun, the officer may seize the handgun until adjudication by a judge.

Failure to comply with these provisions will result in a six-month automatic suspension of the permit.

The permit will be revoked under any of the following circumstances:

  • The blood alcohol reading of the permittee is .05 percent or greater.
  • A blood test or urine test shows the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.
  • A permittee refuses to submit to a chemical test upon request of a law enforcement officer.
  • The permittee is found guilty of negligent carrying of a concealed handgun.

Concealed handguns are not permitted in the following places:

  • A law enforcement building.
  • A detention facility, prison or jail.
  • A courthouse or courtroom.
  • A polling place.
  • A meeting place of the governing authority of a political subdivision.
  • The state capitol building.
  • Any portion of an airport facility where the carrying of firearms is prohibited under federal law.
  • Any church or similar place of worship.
  • A parade or demonstration for which a permit is issued.
  • Any portion of a permitted area where alcoholic beverages are sold for on-premises consumption.
  • Any school firearm-free-zone.
  • Any place in which firearms are banned by state or federal law.

Reciprocal Carry

Louisiana honors another state’s permits to carry if that state honors Louisiana’s permits:

"A current and valid concealed handgun permit issued by another state to an individual having attained the age of twenty-one years shall be deemed to be valid for the out-of-state permit holder to carry a concealed weapon within this state if a current and valid concealed handgun permit issued by Louisiana is valid in those states."

States that honor Louisiana's permits to carry include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island ​do not honor Louisiana's permits.

Contact Information

Louisiana State Police
Concealed Handgun Permit Unit
PO Box 66375
Baton Rouge, LA 70896

Concealed Handgun Permit Phone Numbers
(225) 925-4867 
(225) 925-4868 
(225) 922-0225 (Fax Number)

Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.

A property owner may prohibit access to his property by persons possessing concealed handguns. A permittee may not carry a concealed handgun into a private residence of another without first receiving the consent of that person.

It is unlawful to possess a firearm on a school campus during regular school hours or on a school bus.

It is also unlawful to possess a firearm on one’s person: on school property, at a school sponsored function, in a firearm-free zone, on a school campus, or on school transportation, or within 1000 feet of a school campus.

These prohibitions do not apply to: the possession of a firearm occurring within 1,000 feet of school property and entirely on private property, entirely within a private residence, or in accordance with a concealed handgun permit; or any constitutionally protected activity which cannot be regulated by the state, such as a firearm contained entirely within a motor vehicle.

National Firearms Act Firearms

State law governs a special category of firearms that is roughly similar to the category also governed by the National Firearms Act.

Such items include: shotguns with barrels of less than 18 inches; rifles with barrels of less than 16 inches, any weapon made from either a rifle or shotgun if the overall length is less than twenty-six inches; machine guns, silencers, and certain specifically described weapons.

No person shall possess or transfer such an item without the prior approval of the Department of Public Safety.

Every person possessing such an item shall register with the Department of Public Safety. State law does not require the registration of items which are unserviceable and are transferred as a curiosity or ornament.

Antiques And Replicas

Louisiana statutes are silent on antique and replica firearms. They are treated as ordinary firearms for possession, sale, and carrying purposes.

Miscellaneous

It is unlawful to possess a firearm while on the premises of an alcoholic beverage outlet, which is defined as any commercial establishment in which alcoholic beverages are sold in individual servings for consumption on the premises.

The governing authority of any political subdivision or local or other governmental authority of the state is preempted from bringing suit to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer for damages for injury, death, or loss or to seek other injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition.

The authority to bring such actions as may be authorized by law shall be reserved exclusively to the state.

It is unlawful to obliterate, remove, change, or alter numbers or marks of identification on any firearm.

No person shall intentionally receive, possess, carry, conceal, buy, sell, or transport any firearm which has been illegally obtained or from which the serial number or mark of identification has been obliterated.

This shall not apply to any firearm which is an antique or war relic and is inoperable or for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the U.S. and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade, or which was originally manufactured without such a number.

No governing authority of a political subdivision shall enact after July 15, 1985 any ordinance or regulation more restrictive than state law concerning in any way the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, use, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition.

No person shall import, manufacture, sell, purchase, possess, or transfer, any bullet that has a steel inner core or core of equivalent density and hardness, truncated cone, and is designed for use in a handgun as a body armor or metal piercing bullet, or which has been primarily manufactured or designed by nature of its shape, cross-sectional density, or any coating applied thereto, to breach or penetrate body armor when fired from a handgun.

Source: National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action