METAIRIE, La (WGNO) — “The first responder to every event is yourself,” Republican State Rep. Danny McCormick told WGNO News from his office in Oil City during a Zoom interview. McCormick is hoping to get his bill, HB 131, passed during the regular legislative session which begins on Monday.

It’s the second year in a row that he’s tried to pass a bill that would allow for law abiding adults to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in Louisiana, and the third year in a row that the legislature has considered similar legislation. The previous attempts ended in either a veto from the governor or a slow death in the legislative process.

McCormick says that while Louisiana allows adults to carry a firearm in the open, they are not allowed to carry it concealed.

“You can put a gun on your hip and walk in a store, but you can not put a coat on over that gun or you’ll become a criminal,” he said.

Critic of permitless concealed carry say allowing more people to carry guns without any training will lead to more gun violence. Law enforcement leaders from around the state have appealed to the public and lawmakers to not support the legislation. Governor Edwards is a staunch critic of permitless carry as well, also pointing out that no background checks are required.

McCormick responds to critics by saying, “It’s like law abiding citizens are all of a sudden going to go shoot each other because now they’re able to carry a pistol. That’s silliness.”

This year, the numbers could be on McCormick’s side, specifically the number of Republicans in both the Louisiana House and Senate which now create a supermajority that would allow for them to override any veto from the Governor Edwards if they all vote the same way.

But if there’s a division and the bill fails to pass for a third straight year, voters could have a greater say in October when a term limited Edwards will be on his way out of the Governor’s Mansion and the state elects his replacement.

Political analyst Jeff Crouere says voters can expect to hear a lot about the issue during the campaign.

“You’ve got 7 candidates running, 1 Democrat, 1 independent, and 5 Republicans. And I think the Republicans are going to say, ‘Hey, if this legislation reaches my desk as governor, I’ll sign it’,” Crouere told WGNO News.

On April 3, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allows for permitless concealed carry in his state, the 26th state to allow it. Currently Louisiana is the only gulf coast state that does not.