Legislators eye safety rules for campus gun sales

The Louisiana House on Tuesday afternoon approved legislation that would impose certain safety restrictions on nonprofits that auction or sell guns on college and university campuses.

House Bill 244 sponsored by state Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, would require the following restrictions when outside groups lease property on college campuses to host fundraisers and auctions where guns are present:

Firearms must be kept in secure display at the event.

Campus security is present at the event.

The event shall be held indoors.

The firearms to be sold are equipped with a safety lock or other safety device rendering the gun inoperable while it’s on display.

HB244 passed on a 90-2 vote. Broadwater called it a safety measure, explaining that schools have long been letting nonprofit organizations rent space on their campuses to hold events. In many of those cases, guns are auctioned or sold, he said.

The measure came under attack from state Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, who said it sends the wrong message. Norton argued that the bill implies it’s acceptable to have guns on college campuses.

“You are concerned about safety, I’m concerned with the message it sends,” Norton said. “I think it’s the wrong thing to do.”

Broadwater reiterated that his bill is about safety.

“I found it was going on for a while with no safety measures ... what this does is put in place some safety regulations,” he said.

House Bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee for further consideration.