The Lake Charles area monthly LOCAL meeting will be held again at the Taco Bell in Moss Bluff, La. at 5:30 pm Monday, June 2, 2014.
The Northwest area LOCAL is meeting Wednesday, June 4 at Southfield Grill, 1810 Benton Rd, Bossier at 6:30 pm.
The Lafayette area LOCAL meeting will be Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 202 E. Angus Dr. in Youngsville, LA.
The Baton Rouge area LOCAL meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the IHOP on College Drive in Baton Rouge.
The Florida Parish group will meet at the IHOP in Covington on the 3rd Saturday, June 21.
More meetings will be announced as they are scheduled…
June 2014 Gun Shows:
Lafayette Gun Show
June 14 and 15
Lafayette Convention Center
Kenner Gun Show
June 21 and 22
Kiwanis Club of Thibodaux Gun Show
June 28 and 29
Evergreen Cajun Center in Houma
Shreveport Gun Show
June 28 and 29
Shreveport Riverview Hall
Ponchatoula LA Show
July 19 & 20
Lions Club, 750 East Pine street
put on by Ten Ring Arms LLC
LOCAL at the Gonzales Gun Show in August
As you know, we often talk about having a table set up at area Gun and Knife Shows. We have reserved a table for the August 2 and 3 Gun Show at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA. LOCAL President Steve Raacke and LOCAL Founding Member Steve Schwarer will staff the table. Any LOCAL members attending the show who want to drop by and help staff the table some are most welcome. We have a thread in the Members Section of the discussion forum if you want to volunteer to help out or have any suggestions. Just go to – https://laopencarry.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=75 .
As you know I’ve made several trips to the State Capital in the past weeks to lobby on behalf of LOCAL for and against several firearms related bills. With the session effectively over we have seen some good bills and some bad make it to the Governors desk.
I want to thank all of our members who took the time to call or email their representatives and let them know where we stood on these issues. I can tell you that politics is not a very nice thing to watch happening and sitting there in committee sessions listening to some of the discussions was, at times, very stressful.
I was able to meet many dedicated pro gun activists while lobbying at the Capital and am glad to know there are so many people working with us to protect our rights. From Bradley Gulotta of Gun Rights Across America to Tara Mica of the NRA as well as “Captain Black” and Mike Weinberger with the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans, we are surrounded by allies. And of course the LA Shooting Association was always there working hard.
LOCAL needs to continue to network with these groups and partner with them in future efforts to get pro-gun legislation passed and to stop gun control measures.
Let’s look at some of the bills which went to Governor Jindal and have been signed into law.
HB-72 was the bill which cleared up the conflict in different statutes regarding the right to carry in Alcohol Beverage Outlets. This will make it legal for CHP holders to conceal carry into restaurants which serve alcohol but make 60% of their profits from food sales. This also allows off duty police officers to carry into bars. This bill does not allow for open carry in ABO restaurants nor does it allow for ordinary citizens who are not police officers to carry into bars. This will be something we need to work on in future sessions.
HB-1066 provides CHP holders an exemption from the NICS background check when buying a handgun from a FFL dealer. There are still some regulatory issues to be ironed out at the federal level with this but once it is corrected Louisiana will join 21 other states which have this exemption.
HB-1112 creates a special prestige NRA state license plate for your car or truck. Yep, if you are an NRA member and want to go one better than displaying the decals on your window this is the bill you were waiting for.
Some bad bills didn’t make it to the Governor’s desk.
HB-13 would have required FFL dealers to verify that a person purchasing a gun had completed a gun safety course.
HB-1189 from gun banner Barbara Norton ( D-Shreveport) would have made it a crime to intentionally expose children, age ten and under, to firearms that were not locked in a container or equipped with a locking device. LSA Director Jay Hunt testified to the committee that the word “exposure” is overly broad and would make a person subject to crime if a child 10 or under simply saw the gun. For instance, if a person was open carrying a pistol in a store and a child 10 years old or under simply saw that pistol, the person who is legally carrying that pistol would have committed a crime.
HB-826 was an attempt to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law in Louisiana. It died in committee too.
Some not so great bills were changed to be less of a threat to us than they were originally.
We had HB-160 which would have outlawed the use of the popular reactive targets often known as Tannerite. The bill was amended to allow up to 5 pounds of the binary explosive to be kept at a time.
Then there was HB-673 which would have required Law Enforcement to seize a persons weapons if they were accused, but not yet convicted, of a domestic violence claim. We opposed this on the basis that it didn’t recognize due process. It was changed to ban a person charged of domestic violence from owning a gun for 10 years.
And of course, we know that the Constitutional Carry bills presented by Rep Ivey also were deferred in committee and are effectively dead this session.
So we won some and lost some and the fight goes on. I will be there for future sessions, representing LOCAL and fighting for our rights. Join me if you can.
Open Carrier Wins Suit Against Whole Foods, NOPD Officer
Many of you already know the story. Back in January 2013, Albert Monaco was shopping at his neighborhood Whole Foods store. Mr. Monaco had been in this store many times and was on good social terms with the store manager and staff. As he often does, Mr. Monaco was legally open carrying a holstered pistol on his belt. The staff had never told him he couldn’t carry in the store and there were no signs telling customers that guns were forbidden on the property. As he was reaching over the deli counter for some cheese he was assaulted from behind.
It wasn’t the urban legend “Bad Guy” who was “taking him out first” or some felon “snatching his gun out of his holster”. It was NOPD Sergeant Wade Bowser who was working an extra duty detail for Whole Foods that night. Sgt Bowser wrapped an arm around Mr. Monaco’s throat while pulling Mr. Monaco’s gun from it’s holster with his other hand. Mr. Monaco was told he was being detained for “carrying a firearm in the store.”
Mr. Monaco was taken to a back room in the store where Sgt Bowser berated him, called him “stupid” and proceeded to unload the gun and demanded ID. Mr. Monaco began filming the encounter with his cell phone. Sgt Bowser then walked Mr. Monaco through the store, outside to where his unmarked police car was parked.
Once outside the berating continued in the presence of the store manager. Sgt Bowers told Mr. Monaco, “You’re not a commissioned Police Officer” and “New Orleans can dictate their own laws.” Sgt Bowers then bragged that he has assaulted other people openly carrying guns in the store in the past, “I come to find out he’s probation or parole, whatever the case may be. They didn’t put their badge on their belt. I did the same thing to them.”
After this incident, Mr. Monaco went home and posted the video to YouTube which can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q_E6hDEazo. Mr. Monaco then posted his story and video on several gun related websites and sought out legal help. LOCAL put him in touch with New Orleans attorney Owen Courreges who gladly took the case.
Mr. Courreges filed suit against Whole Foods, Sgt Bowser and the City of New Orleans. The complaint was for Assault, Battery, False Imprisonment, Intentional Inflection of Emotional Distress and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress as well as damages under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
A copy of the suit can be seen at http://www.scribd.com/doc/143128048/Monaco-v-Whole-Foods
In May, Mr. Monaco announced that he had won his case and had settled for an undisclosed amount. As Mr. Monaco is barred from giving details of his settlement we can only hope that the case will result in actions against Sgt Bowers by his Department and that this will serve as an example to other public servants that they and their departments can’t “dictate their own laws” and assault people at will.
This case serves as an example to open carriers also. We need to know the laws and our rights when we are carrying. We need to know how to act when confronted by an officer acting outside of the scope of his duties. We need to document everything and we need to have an attorney who knows how to peruse charges in court and who is willing to fight for us.
LOCAL is the Louisiana Open Carry Awareness League. Awareness isn’t just about educating the public about the right to open carry. It’s about making you aware of the things you need to know when you decide to legally carry a firearm. It’s about education. Learn from this case and exercise your rights with knowledge and certainty.
Florida Parishes Chapter President Steps Down
On May 5th, Florida Parish Chapter President Wolf Peterson suffered a stroke. Wolf has virtually no use of his left had and is going to be going to Physical Therapy and working to get well. For the time being Chapter VP Michael Prentice will be keeping things running on the “North Shore” for LOCAL.
Wolf was very active in getting the word out about LOCAL and we wish him a rapid recovery.