BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A bill that could put guns in hands of some victims of domestic violence is now heading to the House floor.
The bill advanced unanimously out of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice Tuesday though there were some concerns.
HB 176, sponsored by Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, would allow victims of domestic violence with a protective order to receive a temporary concealed carry permit, allowing them to carry a gun for 45 days after the order was issued.
Hodges said the bill would put those victims at the head of the line to get a permit and that the measure is about deterring violence.
"All we're asking to do, to get them to the front of the line, to equalize their ability to survive when they are attacked," Hodges said.
"It can be very difficult to introduce a firearm into a domestic violence situation. Offenders typically have access to them," said Beth Meeks with the Louisiana Coalition against Domestic Violence. "It can be very difficult if you don't have good training with a firearm, to use it accurately especially during a highly emotional situation."
Some advocacy groups for victims are not against the bill, but expressed worry about the training piece. As the bill stands, the victims would not necessarily have to undergo training upon getting the weapon, only if they want to get a permanent license after 45 days.
The Louisiana Sheriff's Association did support the measure.
The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration.