Open Carry FAQ

NOTE: Certain places and people are restricted by law as to what and where they can carry a gun. It is wise to check before you carry to see what restrictions the area that you intend to carry in have that may affect you!

What is Open Carry?

Open carry is shorthand terminology for “openly carrying a firearm in public”, as distinguished from concealed carry, where firearms cannot be seen by the casual observer. The act of publicly carrying a firearm in plain sight. Plain sight is broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.

Is it legal to openly carry weapons in Louisiana?

People often ask us, “How long has Open Carry been legal in La?” The answer is, since at least the mid-19th Century. As a general rule yes, however, certain places and people are restricted by law. It is wise to check before you carry to see what restrictions the area that you intend to carry in have that may affect Open Carry.

“In State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: ‘This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defense of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”

Cite –

Aren’t Only Police Allowed To Open Carry?

Nope and there is case law to back this up. “The carrying of an unconcealed weapon is not a special privilege or advantage enjoyed by a police officer. Each citizen is guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms not concealed on his person.” State v. Nelson, 367 So.2d 317 (1979)

Cite –

Can I open carry anywhere?

No! Some places are restricted by law. For example, school zones (if you are not in your vehicle, or on private property), government (state and local) buildings, any place that sells alcohol for consumption on the premises and any private property that posts signs expressly forbidding the carrying of firearms. These are the main ones but there are more depending on local and area laws so always do a little research before carrying anywhere! Our Statutes page is a great place to start your search.

Who is prohibited from openly carrying weapons?

Anyone who is prohibited from owning weapons. In general, this means drug addicts, felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and those under eighteen years of age. Louisiana does have some laws prohibiting possession of firearms, but Federal laws are more strict, so if you are OK by Federal law, you are likely OK by LA law.

How old do you have to be to open carry?

In Louisiana 17, but federal law restricts the age to 18. The federal law ‘trumps’ the state law, so 18. The following may help clear this up for you:

Source –

RS 14:95.8 – Illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile
“It is unlawful for any person who has not attained the age of seventeen years knowingly to possess any handgun on his person. Any person possessing any handgun in violation of this Section commits the offense of illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile.”

Also see –

RS 14:91 – Unlawful sales of weapons to minors
“Unlawful sales of weapons to minors is the selling or otherwise delivering for value of any firearm or other instrumentality customarily used as a dangerous weapon to any person under the age of eighteen. Lack of knowledge of the minor’s age shall not be a defense.”

Do I have to be a Louisiana resident to open carry in Louisiana?

No. Visitors to our State may carry just like residents.

Do I need a permit to Open Carry like I do to Conceal Carry?

No. There is no permit required to Open Carry in Louisiana.

Do I give up my right to open carry if I get a concealed handgun permit?

NO! This is misinformation that has spread around the State for some time now. Supposedly, certain individuals working for the State Police at one time were informing concealed handgun instructors to inform those who applied for a permit that, if approved, they would no longer be allowed to open carry. There is no basis for this in law.

Can I switch between open carry and concealed carry?

As long as you have your concealed carry permit, you can chose to do either one, as long as all laws/restrictions are followed. Having a concealed carry license does NOT take away your right to openly carry.

Can businesses prohibit me from open carrying?

Yes. A private property owner has the right to prohibit weapons on their property.

Can I open carry in my vehicle?


Can my handgun be loaded?

Yes. You can carry your gun loaded and ready to use.

Can I open carry on private property?

Yes, provided you are not on someone else’s property who does not want you to.

Do local law enforcement officers know that open carry is legal?

Some do, some don’t- just like non-Law Enforcement Officers. Do not assume that someone who has been trained to enforce the law somehow knows everything there is to know about the law.

Can I be charged with disturbing the peace for open carry?

Not legally. RS 14:103 is the LA statute regarding disturbing of the peace. OC does not meet the standards for Disturbing the Peace.

Can I be charged with brandishing for open carry?

Again, not legally. Brandishing, by definition, requires more than an item to simply be visible. Refer to RS 40:1382 for more information about this subject.

Has anyone been arrested for open carry?

Yes. Carrying weapons always carries with it an increased risk of potential legal complications. However, open carry, in and of itself, is not illegal. Be aware that you could be at a significantly increased risk for being falsely arrested for openly carrying a weapon in some areas.

What holster method should I use for open carry?

That is a personal preference. However be advised that if you do not have a concealed carry permit you are at an increased risk of a criminal charge if your carry method can be construed as having been intended to conceal or obscure your weapon. It is often suggested that a quality retention style holster be used whenever possible when Open Carrying.

Can I open carry in other States?

Yes, open carry is allowed by law in many States. Louisiana is one of more than 40 States where citizens may Open Carry handguns. Laws vary so research each area carefully.

Can I Open Carry a rifle/shotgun?

Yes it is legal to open carry rifles/shotguns but for several reasons we do not advocate for it at this time. Our organization is focused on the right to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily American life. We do NOT promote the carry of long guns. Long guns are great! LOCAL Founders and most of the members of this forum own at least one long gun – but due to urban area issues of muzzle control, lack of trigger guard coverage, and the fact that the long gun carry issue distracts from our main mission to promote the open carry of handguns in daily life, we will leave long gun carry activism in the capable hands of the future founders of web sites about long gun carry. Basically it distracts from our main mission of normalizing carry of firearms commonly used in self defense. 99% of the time the average citizen will be carrying a pistol instead of a rifle and that is what we concentrate on. One step at a time as we say.

How and when does “preemption” apply?

Louisiana has state preemption of firearms laws, except that local laws passed before July 15, 1985 are NOT preempted.
RS 40:1796

What can I do to help further the cause of Open Carry?

Simple, just carry openly! Be a good representative for everyone exercising their open carry rights. Follow all local laws, including non-firearms related laws. Become a LOCAL member by clicking the JOIN LOCAL button on this webpage.

Is LOCAL affiliated with any other organizations?

LOCAL is not affiliated with any other organizations or Open Carry groups although our officers may also act as NRA recruiters.