Weapons Charges in Louisiana

Learn when you can be charged with a crime in Louisiana for possessing, carrying, or using a gun or other dangerous weapon.

By , Legal Editor

In Louisiana, most adults may buy and openly carry guns—but you need a state permit to carry a concealed handgun. Also, some people are barred from having any firearms, and some places in the state are off-limits to guns. Read on for details of Louisiana's restrictions on possessing, carrying, and using firearms and other deadly weapons.

When It's Illegal in Louisiana to Carry Concealed Weapons

If you have a permit, you may carry a concealed handgun most places in Louisiana. Otherwise, it's illegal to intentionally hide any firearm or other dangerous weapon, including a switchblade, on or near your body. First convictions for violating this law are punished by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500, but the penalties increase significantly for subsequent convictions or if the gun was used while committing or trying to commit a violent crime or while in possession of illegal drugs.

Even if you have a permit, it's against the law to carry a concealed handgun in certain places, including:

  • permitted demonstrations or parades, like Mardi Gras
  • places of worship (unless the religious organization has allowed it)
  • someone else's home (without consent), and
  • any place all guns are banned (discussed below).

You can also be charged with a crime if you carry a concealed handgun while you're under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug, or you carry it in a negligent way—meaning the gun likely to discharge or it's reasonable for other people to fear that it will go off or that you're about to commit a crime. (La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:95, 40:1379.3, 40:1382 (2019).)

    Qualifying for a Concealed Handgun Permit

    In order to get a concealed handgun permit in Louisiana, you must be at least 21 years old, live in the state, and complete an approved firearms class. You must also be free of any of the disqualifying factors in your history—including convictions for felonies or domestic violence misdemeanors, being subject to a domestic violence restraining order, or drug or alcohol abuse. (La. Rev. Stat. § 1379.3 (2019).)

    Bringing Weapons to Schools and Bars: Where Guns Are Off-Limits in Louisiana

    Louisiana has a number of restrictions on bringing weapons to and near school property, on college and university campuses, and in places alcohol is served.

    Schools, Colleges, and Universities

    It's illegal to carry any gun or other dangerous weapon on school property—including K-12 schools, colleges, universities, voc-tech schools—at school-sponsored functions, on school buses, and within 1,000 feet of school property. Exceptions to this restriction include:

    • guns that are kept in a motor vehicle
    • permit holders who are carrying concealed handguns within 1,000 feet of a school
    • anyone on private property or in a private home within 1,000 feet of a school
    • school employees who are performing their job duties
    • law enforcement officers
    • students who have a gun in their dorm rooms
    • students who are carrying a gun to or from their cars or a class that requires use of a firearm, and
    • anyone who has permission from the school administration to have a gun.

    Depending on the circumstances and which law is applied, penalties for a first conviction could range from up to six months in jail (and/or a fine of up to $500) to as much as five years in prison; subsequent convictions bring even stiffer penalties. (La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:95, 14.95.2 (2019).)

    Bars and Restaurants

    You can also face up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine if you intentionally have a gun in a bar or other establishment where alcohol is sold for on-site consumption—unless it's in a restaurant and you have a concealed handgun permit (La. Rev. Stat. § 14.95.5 (2019)).

    Louisiana Prohibitions on Gun Possession

    Louisiana also has some restrictions on gun possession based on criminal history and age.

    Felons and Domestic Violence Offenders

    You can be charged with a felony in Louisiana (punishable by five to 20 years in prison plus a fine) for having any firearm if you've been convicted of:

    The prohibition applies for a period of ten years after the completion of your previous sentence.

    It's also illegal to sell or give a gun or ammunition to someone whom you know is prohibited from having a firearm because of a felony conviction; if convicted, you'll face mandatory prison time (up to five years) in addition to a possible fine. (La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:95.1, 14:95.1.1, 14:95.1.2, 14:95.10 (2019).)

    Minors

    Minors (under age 18) may have rifles and shotguns in Louisiana, but they're generally prohibited from possessing handguns. There are a number of exceptions, including when the minors:

    • have their parents' written permission
    • are legally hunting or target shooting, or
    • are on private property with the consent of both their parents and the property owner.

    First convictions are punished by 90 days to six months in jail (plus a fine), but the penalties increase with subsequent convictions or when the minor has previous convictions for certain other offenses. (La. Rev. Stat. § 14:95.8 (2019).)

    Illegal Use of Weapons in Louisiana

    Criminal charges—and penalties—are more serious if you use a gun or other deadly weapon to commit a crime, such as assault with a firearm.

    You could face a sentence of five to 15 years in prison if you're found guilty of firing a gun recklessly within 1,000 feet of a permitted parade, demonstration, or other gathering. And if you've used a gun to commit a violent crime, you may face additional charges simply for carrying that weapon near a parade. (La. Rev. Stat. §§ 95.2.1, 95.2.2 (2019).)

    Getting Legal Assistance

    Louisiana can impose strict penalties—with possibly long prison sentences—for some gun-related crimes. If you're facing criminal charges as a result of your possession, carrying, or use of a gun or other weapon, you should consult a local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can explain how the law applies to your situation and help you prepare the strongest possible defense.

    Changes in the Law

    States can change their laws at any time, so you may want to use this search tool to find the current versions of Louisiana statutes mentioned in this article. However, court decisions may affect the interpretation and application of those laws—which is another good reason to speak to a lawyer if you're worried about actual or potential weapons charges.

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