In an effort to curb a trend of drive by shootings in Caddo Parish, a magazine limit of 20 ammunition rounds for loaded guns in vehicles may be instituted by the Parish Commission.
If passed, the ordinance would be enforced in Caddo Parish’s unincorporated areas. To be passed, it must receive majority Commission support at two meetings. The first vote for the ordinance is set for the Commission’s Thursday regular meeting.
Commissioners questioned why a law-abiding citizen would need a gun loaded with more than 20 rounds while driving if police officers carry less.
“Why have a gun with more than 20 rounds in the vehicle if you don’t intend to use it?” pondered Commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson at the Commission’s Monday evening work session.
The ordinance would not limit the number of weapons or ammunition you could have in your car; only the number of bullets you can have in a single, loaded gun.
“What I’ve seen in most of these shootings in our city, nobody goes there with a six shooter,” added Johnson, who originated the ordinance.
Parish of Caddo attorney Donna Frazier said she hasn’t been able to confirm if the law is more restrictive than Louisiana gun laws. If it is, she said, the law would be unconstitutional.
“You would not be able to have guns on public roads that have 20 rounds or more capacity loaded,” Frazier said when asked to clarify the ordinance. “You can have the gun but your ammunition would have to be separate from the gun.”
The ordinance says it prohibits "a loaded firearm or firearms with a magazine capable of holding more than 20 rounds of ammunition."
“An unloaded weapon for my personal protection does me no good,” Commissioner Jim Taliaferro said.
Further consideration of the ordinance was supported by seven commissioners, while four voted to nix the ordinance Monday. The latter four were Taliaferro, Mario Chavez, Todd Hopkins, and Ed Lazarus.
“Not engaging (the ammunition) in the weapon itself minimizes my opportunity to protect myself,” Taliaferro said.
“I don’t care what you have at home. You could have a 50 caliber cannon at your house but if you’re on a public road you shouldn’t have a gun with more than 20 rounds loaded in your vehicle,” Johnson said.
“Police officers from my understanding don’t have that many rounds on them at a time and they’re law enforcement,” said Commissioner Steffon Jones. “So I don’t see why a citizen would need to on a public road.”
The penalties for violating the ordinance would be a maximum of six months in jail, a $500 fine or both.
Kendrick Dante writes for the USA Today Network and is a government watchdog reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana. He enjoys cooking, concerts, and content. Email him at email@example.com or connect on Twitter @kendrickdante.
This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: 20 round ammo limit considered for loaded guns in cars in Caddo Parish