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Legal Information: Louisiana

Louisiana State Gun Laws

State Gun Laws

This section has information about who is prohibited from having a gun under Louisiana state gun laws. However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the LA Places that Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.

Basic Info and Definitions

What 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.

What is the definition of a felony?

Under Louisiana state law, a felony is any offense that can be punished by death or imprisonment at hard labor.1

1 LA R.S. 14:2(A)(4)

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

Under Louisiana state law, it is illegal for anyone to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon under the following circumstances:

  1. If someone has a final protective order against him/her, it is illegal to possess/carry while the order is in effect as long as:
    • the order includes a finding that the defendant represents a believable (credible) threat to the physical safety of a family member, household member, or dating partner; and
    • the order includes a notice to the defendant about this law and about the federal firearm law.1
  2. If someone has been convicted of any of the following crimes, it is illegal to possess/carry (as long as s/he was represented by a lawyer during the criminal case or s/he gave up the right to have a lawyer):

In addition, anyone who was convicted of or found “not guilty by reason of insanity” of any of the following crimes cannot possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon for a period of ten years from the date of completing the sentence, probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or discharge from a mental institution by a court:

  1. a “crime of violence” which is a felony;
  2. various burglary crimes (for a complete list, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page);
  3. manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
  4. possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
  5. felony illegal use of weapons;
  6. any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (LA R.S. 40.961 et seq.) that is a felony;
  7. any crime defined as a sex offense; or
  8. an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.3

There are additional reasons why a person would not qualify for a permit to be able to carry a concealed weapon. See What reasons would someone be denied a permit to carry a concealed handgun? for more information.

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to our Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

1 LA R.S. 46:2136.3
2 LA R.S. 14:95.10(A), (C)
3 LA R.S. 14:95.1(A), (C)

What reasons would someone be denied a permit to carry a concealed handgun?

In addition to the reasons that would make it illegal for a person to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon, there are additional reasons why a person would not qualify for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. However, s/he may still be able to possess a firearm as long as it is not a handgun and it is not being carried in a hidden (concealed) way. In Louisiana, in order to qualify for a concealed handgun permit, the person must:

  • be a resident of the state;
  • be twenty-one years of age or older;
  • not be suffering from a mental or physical illness (infirmity) due to disease, illness, or intellectual disability that prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
  • not have been committed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for the abuse of drugs within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted;
  • not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a drug-related misdemeanor within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted;
  • not presently be charged under indictment or a “bill of information” for a drug-related misdemeanor;
  • not frequently (chronically and habitually) drink alcohol to such an extent that his/her normal abilities are damaged (impaired);
  • not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted or at any time after the application is submitted;
  • not have been admitted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for treatment as an alcoholic within the five-year period immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted or at any time after the application is submitted;
  • not been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a misdemeanor “crime of violence” (unless five years have passed since completion of the sentence or since any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
  • not have been convicted of (or have entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
  • not be charged under indictment or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
  • not be a fugitive from justice;
  • not be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotic drugs;
  • not have been found by a court to be mentally deficient;
  • not have been committed to a mental institution;
  • not be an undocumented immigrant;
  • not have been discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States with a discharge characterized as “Under Other than Honorable Conditions,” a “Bad Conduct Discharge,” or a “Dishonorable Discharge;”
  • not have a history of engaging in violent behavior; Note: If within a ten-year period immediately before the date of the application, there is proof that either of the following are true, it will be assumed that the person has a “history of engaging in violent behavior”:
    • the applicant was arrested or charged on three or more occasions for any “crime of violence;” or
    • the applicant was arrested or charged on two or more occasions for any crime of violence that may be punished by death;
  • not be ineligible to possess or receive a firearm under federal law, including when there is a protective order issued against the applicant that meets certain conditions (see The abuser has a gun. Is that legal? in our Federal Gun Laws section for more information); and
  • not have had a permit denied within one year prior to the most recent application or revoked within four years prior to the most recent application.1

​1 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)

    Guns and Protective Orders

    I have a temporary restraining order. Can the abuser have a gun?

    Louisiana law tells a judge what protections s/he is allowed to grant someone in a temporary order of protection. Restricting an abuser’s access to have or buy a gun is not included in the list of protections that can be granted in a temporary order.1

    1 LA R.S. 46:2135

    I have a protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

    Louisiana law makes it illegal for someone to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon while a long-term protective order is in effect if:

    • the order includes a finding that the defendant represents a believable (credible) threat to the physical safety of a family member, household member, or dating partner; and
    • the order includes a notice to the defendant about this law and about the federal firearm law.1

    In addition, if a person has a protective order against him/her that meets certain requirements, s/he would not qualify for a permit to carry a concealed handgun if s/he applied for one.2 The requirements are:

    1. the order was issued after a hearing;
    2. the abuser has to be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to attend (whether or not s/he actually attends doesn’t matter);
    3. the abuser must be:
      • your current or former spouse;
      • a person with whom who you have a child in common; or
      • a person with whom you live or have lived in the past;3 and
    4. the order of protection must contain the following specific legal language:
      • it has to forbid the respondent from harassing, stalking, threatening, or behaving in any way that causes the petitioner to fear physical injury for him/herself or his/her child; and
      • it has to say one of the following:
        • the abuser represents a threat to the physical safety of the petitioner or his/her child; or
        • the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the petitioner or his/her child is not allowed (prohibited).4

    Lastly, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person’s right to have a gun under certain circumstances, including when there is an order of protection that was issued after notice to the abuser and a hearing. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

    1 LA R.S. 46:2136.3
    2 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)(17)
    3 18 USC §§ 922(g)(8); 921(a)(32)​
    4 18 USC § 922(g)(8)

    Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protective order?

    Depending on the judge in your case, there may be some things you can do to increase the chances that the judge will require that an abuser’s guns are taken away. Keep in mind these tips may or may not result in the outcome that you are hoping for. Every judge is different. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:

    • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever shown you the guns or displayed them as a way to intimidate you and maintain control over you.
    • Ask the judge to specifically write in your order for protection that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for an order for protection will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section.
    • It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser’s guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the order for protection is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:
      • require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser’s house and get them;
      • make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
      • order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.
    • If the gun restriction is granted, check to make sure that it is written on your order before leaving the courthouse.

    Guns and Criminal Convictions

    If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

    Under Louisiana state law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of any of the following crimes to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon as long as the person was represented by a criminal defense lawyer during the criminal case or s/he gave up (waived) the right to have a lawyer:

    In addition, anyone who was convicted of or found “not guilty by reason of insanity” of any of the following crimes cannot possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon for a period of ten years from the date of completing the sentence, probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or discharge from a mental institution by a court:

    1. a “crime of violence” which is a felony;
    2. various burglary crimes (for a complete list, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page);
    3. manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
    4. possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
    5. felony illegal use of weapons;
    6. any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (LA R.S. 40.961 et seq.) that is a felony;
    7. any crime defined as a sex offense; or
    8. an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.2

    Lastly, there are additional crime-related reasons why a person would not qualify for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Under Louisiana law, in order to qualify for a concealed handgun permit, the person must:

    • not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a drug-related misdemeanor within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted;
    • not presently be charged under indictment or a “bill of information” for a drug-related misdemeanor;
    • not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted or at any time after the application is submitted;
    • not been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a misdemeanor “crime of violence” (unless five years have passed since completion of the sentence or since any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
    • not have been convicted of (or have entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
    • not be charged under indictment or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
    • not be a fugitive from justice;
    • not have a history of engaging in violent behavior; Note: If within a ten-year period immediately before the date of the application, there is proof that either of the following are true, it will be assumed that the person has a “history of engaging in violent behavior”:
      • the applicant was arrested or charged on three or more occasions for any “crime of violence;” or
      • the applicant was arrested or charged on two or more occasions for any crime of violence that may be punished by death;
    • not be ineligible to possess or receive a firearm under federal law (see The abuser has a gun. Is that legal? in our Federal Gun Laws section for more information).3

    1 LA R.S. 14:95.10(A), (C)
    2 LA R.S. 14:95.1(A), (C)
    3 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)

    How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

    Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

    Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

    To read more about the NICS, please see What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

    The Abuser Isn't Supposed to Have a Gun...Now What?

    If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

    A judge must order that the defendant transfer all of his/her firearms to the sheriff within 48 hours and that his/her concealed handgun permit is suspended in any of the following situations:

    1. When a long-term protective order is issued based on domestic abuse, dating violence, or stalking (and in other legal proceedings as well);1
    2. When a person is convicted of any of the following crimes:

    Once the sheriff gets the firearms, the sheriff can:

    • allow a third party who does not live with the defendant to hold onto the transferred firearms;
    • accept and store the transferred firearms, possibly in a storage facility; or
    • oversee the legal sale of the transferred firearms to a third party, such as a licensed firearms dealer.3

    If there comes a time when the defendant is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law (such as when the protective order expires), s/he can file a motion with the court seeking an order for the return of the transferred firearms.4

    1 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1001(A)(2), (D)(1)
    2 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1001(A)(1), (D)(1)
    3 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1002(A)
    4 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1002(D)(1)

    Who 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 Advocates and Shelters 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.1

    1United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

    What is the penalty for violating state firearm laws?

    If someone has a long-term protective order against him/her and s/he still possesses a firearm, attempts to purchase a firearm, or carries a concealed handgun while that order is in effect, s/he can be punished by up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The length of the possible jail time and the amount of the possible fine depends on whether or not it is the person’s first conviction, whether battery or another crime of violence was involved, and other factors.1 You can read the details in section 14:79(subsection B) of the law.

    If someone has been convicted of any of the following crimes and s/he still possesses a firearm or carries a concealed handgun, s/he can be punished by between one to 20 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 to $5,000:2

    1. domestic abuse battery
    2. battery of a dating partner when the offense involves strangulation;
    3. battery of a dating partner when the offense involves burning;
    4. a second (or third, fourth, etc.) offense of battery of a dating partner;3
    5. a “crime of violence” which is a felony;
    6. various burglary crimes (for a complete list, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page);
    7. manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
    8. possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
    9. felony illegal use of weapons;
    10. any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (LA R.S. 40.961 et seq.) that is a felony;
    11. any crime defined as a sex offense; or
    12. an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.4

    Note: For the crimes listed in numbers 1 - 4, the defendant must have been represented by a lawyer during the original criminal case or given up the right to a lawyer. For the crimes listed in numbers 5 - 12, it is only illegal to possess a firearm or carry a concealed handgun for a period of ten years from the date of completing the sentence, probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or discharge from a mental institution by a court.4

    1 LA R.S. 46:2136.3(C); 14:79(A)(4), (B)
    2 LA R.S. 14:95.1(C); 14:95.10(B)
    3 LA R.S. 14:95.10(A), (C)
    4 LA R.S. 14:95.1(A), (C)

    What 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). The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is used by federal firearms licensees (FFLs), such as firearms dealers or pawnbrokers, to instantly determine whether someone is eligible to receive (own, possess, transport) firearms or explosives.1 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 legally 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 and so in those situations, the seller is not looking in the NICS.

    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.

    1National Criminal Justice Reference Service website

    More Information and Where to Get Help

    I do not have a protective order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?

    Louisiana residents are required to possess a valid concealed handgun permit issued by the state of Louisiana in order to carry a concealed handgun.1 In addition to the reasons that would make it illegal for a person to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon related to criminal convictions or protective orders, the following are are additional reasons why a person would not be able to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun:

    • s/he is not a resident of the state;
    • s/he is under age twenty-one;
    • s/he is suffering from a mental or physical illness (infirmity) due to disease, illness, or intellectual disability that prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
    • s/he has been committed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for the abuse of drugs (a controlled dangerous substance) within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted;
    • s/he is presently charged under indictment or a “bill of information” for a drug-related misdemeanor;
    • s/he frequently (chronically and habitually) drinks alcohol to such an extent that his/her normal abilities are damaged (impaired);
    • s/he has been admitted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for treatment as an alcoholic, within the five-year period immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted, or at any time after the application is submitted;
    • s/he is charged under indictment or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
    • s/he is a fugitive from justice;
    • s/he is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotic drugs;
    • s/he has been found by a court to be mentally deficient;
    • s/he has been committed to a mental institution;
    • s/he is an undocumented immigrant;
    • s/he was discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States with a discharge characterized as “Under Other than Honorable Conditions”, a “Bad Conduct Discharge”, or a “Dishonorable Discharge;”
    • s/he has a history of engaging in violent behavior; Note: If within a ten-year period immediately before the date of the application, there is proof that either of the following are true, it will be assumed that the person has a “history of engaging in violent behavior”:
      • the applicant was arrested or charged on three or more occasions for any “crime of violence;” or
      • the applicant was arrested or charged on two or more occasions for any crime of violence that may be punished by death;
    • s/he is ineligible to possess or receive a firearm under federal law (see The abuser has a gun. Is that legal? in our Federal Gun Laws section for more information); and
    • s/he had a permit denied within one year prior to the most recent application or had a permit revoked within four years prior to the most recent application.2

    However, even if the abuser cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun because of one of the above reasons, s/he may still be able to possess a firearm as long as it is not a handgun and it is not being carried in a hidden (concealed) way.

    If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Tips page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. 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 Advocates and Shelters page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.

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

    1 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(B)(2)
    2 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)

    I'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 Advocates and Shelters page.
    • You can write to our Email Hotline.