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June 26, 2024

In Louisiana, Gov. Landry Walks the Talk of Second Amendment Promises Made, Promises Kept

By Matt Manda

First-term Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry is quite a stark contrast to his predecessor in many ways, but perhaps none more so than his approach to protecting and preserving Constitutional rights – specifically the Second Amendment. For Gov. Landry, it’s been promises made, promises kept to Louisianans who revere the right to keep and bear arms, and that includes more than 1.4 million Pelican State residents who have purchased a firearm since 2020.

Gov. Landry enacted laws to allow permitless carry for law-abiding citizens, signed the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act to prohibit corporations from denying services to firearm businesses and signed a law banning the use of a firearm retailer-specific Merchant Category Code (MCC) to create a privatized back-door firearm registry of individuals lawfully purchasing firearms and ammunition.

Over the first four months of Gov. Landry’s tenure as the state’s top executive, nearly 90,000 Louisianans have purchased a firearm, according to NSSF-adjusted FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data. In the state that boasts being the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” it’s no wonder Gov. Landry has made supporting the firearm industry and the millions of Rajin’ Cajuns who lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights everyday by hunting, recreational shooting or for self-defense a priority for his administration.

Bond Writing on the Wall

Gov. Landry’s actions speak loudly about his staunch support for the firearm industry and the rights of Louisianans. He’s been walking the walk even before he won election as the state’s 57th governor in a landslide win. His previous leadership on firearm issues was on full display while he served as the state’s attorney general, including his role on the Louisiana State Bond Commission. That’s the board that oversees applications from parishes (Louisiana lexicon for “county”), municipalities, special taxing districts and other political subdivisions of the state requesting authority to incur debt or levy taxes. It has tremendous influence over which major U.S. financial institutions could underwrite the state’s billion dollars of bond loans.

It was during his tenure on the bond commission that then-AG Landry recognized large financial institutions were playing political favorites, discriminating against firearm industry-related businesses to impose boardroom gun control and also using Louisiana taxpayer dollars to service the bonds awarded by the commission, only to turn around and restrict Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens by denying Second Amendment-related services.

Cases in point, then-AG Landry called foul on the likes of JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo for their blatant discrimination against firearm industry businesses that provide law-abiding citizens with the arms and ammunition they require to exercise their rights. In 2018, Louisiana newspaper The Advocate reported, “The State Bond Commission barred two of the largest banks in the world from participating in efforts to fund some highway projects in Louisiana because of firearms policies [held by the banks].”

Citigroup had previously announced it would no longer do business with firearm retailers who choose to sell certain accessories like standard-capacity magazines, unless they abided by strict gun control limits including barring sales of certain guns, like Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) to legal citizens under the age of 21. Bank of America had stopped lending money to gun manufacturers that produce MSRs. At a bond commission hearing where executives from Citigroup and Bank or America were questioned about their banks’ anti-industry policies, AG Landry criticized the banking officials. “The ability of the merchant to sell the item is being restricted by you,” AG Landry said, pointing at executives from the two institutions.

Those two banks were denied the ability to underwrite more than $600 million in taxpayer bonds.

A couple of years later, in 2021, JP Morgan Chase got a taste of AG Landry’s staunch support for Second Amendment rights and influence on the bond commission. At that time, Louisiana’s State Bond Commission delayed the refinancing of $700 million worth of the state’s debt over concerns that JP Morgan Chase held anti-firearm industry policies, including denying banking and lending services to MSR manufacturers, according to The Louisiana Illuminator.

It was during these years that AG Landry helped create the model for the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act legislation. That’s the NSSF-supported legislation that requires corporations contracting with a state or a state’s municipalities for bonds, that fund everything from building airports to providing payment services, that they don’t have discriminatory policies against firearm-related businesses. If they do, they could forfeit those contracts worth into the hundreds of millions of dollars. After it passed in Louisiana, it was vetoed by former Gov. John Bel Edwards. It ended up that Texas was the first state to enact the FIND Act after it was passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021. But it was then-AG Landry who provided the gameplan to focus on taxpayer-funded government contracts as a financial incentive to force gun control-supporting big banks and other large corporations to simply get back to doing what businesses do and stop playing “woke” politics with law-abiding businesses.

After the long road of effort from his time as attorney general on the bond commission to now as governor, Gov. Landry’s push to safeguard the firearm industry from financial discrimination came full circle when he signed into law Senate Bill 234, the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act earlier this month after being shepherded through the state legislature by Louisiana state Sen. Blake Miguez and state Rep. Troy Romero.

Gov. Landry also signed into law Senate Bill 301, the Louisiana Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act. The law protects the privacy and sensitive financial information of people purchasing firearms and ammunition in The Pelican State by prohibiting financial institutions from requiring a firearm code, also known as a Merchant Category Code (MCC), from being assigned to firearm and ammunition purchases at retail when using a credit card. With Louisiana, there are now 16 states with laws that protect the Second Amendment financial privacy of their citizens; currently, federal legislation is being considered.

First Major Policy Priority  

It wasn’t surprising to anyone the nature of the first major public policy bill Gov. Landry signed into law. After all, he campaigned on making Constitutional Carry a priority. After an initial brief legislative session where he enacted a few redistricting bills, Constitutional Carry was the first major public policy bill Gov. Landry signed into law.

“I promised the folks of Louisiana that I would champion Constitutional Carry into law, and within two months, I have honored that commitment,” Gov. Landry stated at a bill signing ceremony where he put his signature on Senate Bill 1. That made Louisiana the 28th state to enact permitless carry, granting law-abiding citizens of at least 18 years of age the ability to conceal carry a firearm without having to receive permission from the government.

“It’s fundamentally clear — law-abiding citizens should never have to seek government permission to safeguard themselves and their families. Today, we have secured an incredible victory for liberty in Louisiana,” the governor said.

Louisianans were in agreement. “It’s the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves and possessions, our families,” a Louisiana man told local news when the bill passed.

With numerous members of the state’s legislature on board, and firearm industry members like Dillan Rider, President and Founder of RSG Wholesale in Broussard, Laurie Lipsey Aronson, Chairwoman and CEO of Lipsey’s, and so many others continuing to fight for the Second Amendment, it’s crystal clear the new sheriff in town is one that will continue standing up for Constitutional rights and make Second Amendment protections a priority. Gov. Landry made such promises while campaigning to earn the voters’ trust and support. All they see are his promises kept.

You may also be interested in:

NSSF Applauds Louisiana Gov. Landry for Signing Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act

NSSF Praises Louisiana Gov. Landry for Signing FIND Act

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Tags: Financial Discrimination Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination Act Governor Jeff Landry Merchant Category Codes

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