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Know the Laws: Louisiana

UPDATED April 14, 2017

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Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find help, please click on the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.

Basic info and definitions

back to topWhat is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both "federal gun laws" and "state gun laws."  The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself.  Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws.  Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well.  You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws.  Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws.  If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor.  If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor).  For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?  If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

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back to topI am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

It depends. If you have a protective order against the abuser, or if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor, then federal law states that it is illegal for the abuser to ever buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession.*  There are certain requirements that your protective order must meet for it to qualify under federal law.  See I have a protective order against the abuser.  Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun? to read more about what those requirements are.  If you are not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?  To read the definition of a felony, see What is the definition of a felony?

In addition, if the abuser has committed one of the following crimes, Louisiana state law makes it illegal for him/her to possess a gun for a period of ten years from the date of completing the sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence:

  • a “crime of violence” which is a felony;
  • various burglary crimes;
  • manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
  • possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
  • felony illegal use of weapons;
  • any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (LA R.S. 40.961 et seq.) that is a felony;
  • any crime defined as a sex offense; or
  • an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.**

Note: This list summarizes the relevant crimes. For a complete list, please visit our LA Statutes page.  In addition, federal law applies to all states, which prohibits a convicted felon from ever possessing a gun.

For additional reasons why a person would not be able to carry a concealed weapon under LA law, go to I do not have a protective order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Is there anything I can do?

* 18 USC § 922(g)(8),(9)
** LA R.S. 14:95.1(A),(C)

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back to topWhat is the definition of a felony?

A felony under federal law is a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.*  Under Louisiana state law, a felony is any offense that can be punished by death or imprisonment at hard labor.**

* 18 USC § 3559
** LA R.S. 14:2(A)(4)

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