En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Louisiana

UPDATED April 14, 2017

View All

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.

More information and where to get help

back to topWho do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police.  If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). 

You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our LA Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in Louisiana on the ATF website.  For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867).  Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer. 

A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our LA State and Local Programs page. 

Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law.  If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.* 

United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat is the penalty for violating these federal or state firearm laws?

Anyone who owns, has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm law can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.*

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: a “crime of violence” which is a felony, various burglary crimes, manufacture of 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.) which is a felony, any crime defined as a sex offense, or an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.** A person violating this law can be punished by 10 to 20 years in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.***  An attempt to violate this law can be punished by a maximum of seven and a half years in prison and a fine of $500 to $2,500.***

* 18 USC § 924(a)(2)
** LA R.S. 14:95.1(A)
*** LA R.S. 14:95.1(B)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topI 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?

In Louisiana, there are a number of instances when carrying or possessing a firearm will be unlawful even if the abuser is not a convicted criminal and you don’t have a protective order against him/her. For example, it is unlawful for a person who is under 17 years old to possess a handgun, with some exceptions such as for hunting with a valid license, if the minor is on a parent or guardian’s property, or if s/he is off their property but has his/her parent’s written permission.* Another example is that it is unlawful for a student or non-student to carry a firearm on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or in a firearm-free zone, with some exceptions such as for law enforcement officers performing official duties.**

Moreover, Louisiana residents are required to possess a valid concealed handgun permit issued by the state of Louisiana in order to carry a concealed handgun.*** A person who has not been convicted of a crime (there are additional requirements for someone convicted of a crime) can qualify for a concealed handgun permit only if s/he meets all of the following criteria. S/he must

  • be a resident of the state (which can be proven by showing a copy of a valid Louisiana driver's license or an official Louisiana identification card);
  • be at least 21 years old;
  • not suffer a mental or physical illness due to disease, illness, or intellectual disability that prevents the safe use of the gun;
  • not have been committed for the abuse of a controlled dangerous substance;
  • not use alcoholic beverages chronically and habitually to the extent that his/her normal mental abilities are impaired; Note: if a person has been admitted for alcohol treatment within the five-year period before applying for the permit or at any time after handing in the application, it will automatically be presumed that s/he meets the standard of a “chronic and habitual” alcohol user and s/he will not qualify for the permit;
  • not use or be addicted to marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotics;
  • not have been found to be mentally deficient or committed to a mental institution;
  • not be an undocumented immigrant;
  • not have been discharged from the Armed Forces “under other than honorable conditions,” “bad conduct discharge,” or “dishonorable discharge;”
  • not have a history of violent behavior; Note: this will be assumed if within the 10-year period before the application, the person has been arrested or charged 3 or more times for a “crime of violence,” or has been arrested or charged 2 or more times for any crime of violence that may be punished by death;
  • not have had a permit denied in the last year; and
  • not have had a permit revoked in the last four years before the application.****

If any of these situations apply to you, please talk to someone in your area about how these laws are being enforced.

If none of these situations apply, you can check with a local attorney or domestic violence organization to see if other laws would prevent the abuser from having a gun. You can also make a plan for your safety.  See our Staying Safe page for more information. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our LA Where to Find Help page.

For additional information on gun laws in Louisiana, you can go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence website.

* LA R.S. 14:95.8(A),(C)
** LA R.S. 14:95.2(A),(C)
*** LA R.S. 40:1379.3(B)(2)
**** LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)(3)–(5),(7)-(8),(12)–(16),(18),(19) & (J)(3)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Before purchasing a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  If the abuser has a qualifying protection order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in any state, those records should be in the NICS, which should prevent the abuser from buying a gun.  Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system.  Also, it is important to know that background checks are not required for private and online gun sales.  

If the abuser is able to purchase a gun and you believe that s/he should not be able to have one under the law, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away and perhaps the police will investigate.  Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one.

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topThe abuser uses a gun for his/her job. Does the law still apply?

Maybe. If the abuser is a law enforcement officer, military employee or government employee, then s/he might be able to continue to use his/her gun for work purposes, but not for personal use, even if there is a protection order against him/her.

However, if your abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, then under federal law, your abuser cannot buy or have a gun, even if s/he is a police officer or a military employee.*  If you are confused or not sure whether your abuser can still use their gun for work purposes, you can talk to a domestic violence advocate in your area or call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to find out more information: 1-800-903-0111, ext. 2

To find a domestic violence advocate in your area, please go to our LA State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 925(a)(1)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topI've read through all of this information, and I am still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.

  • You can also contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111, ext. 2.
  • You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area - see our LA State and Local Programs page.
  • You can write to our Email Hotline.

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top