The phone at the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office has been ringing nonstop since last week.
Callers are looking for Capt. Kenny Sanders, a firearms trainer and nationally recognized instructor on church and institutional safety. After a 63-year-old Shreveport woman killed an intruder in her home, Sanders said people have questions.
“This week has probably been a world record number of phone calls. It always occurs right after a shooting,” Sanders said. “Suddenly, they get concerned. We wished they’d have been concerned all along, but they’ll call the academy and say, ‘Captain, tell us what our rights are for carrying a gun inside the home.’”
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Shreveport Rotary Club, Sanders and Caddo District Judge Scott Crichton answered those questions with their presentation “Bullet Points on the Second Amendment.”
Crichton spoke on several legal battles, local scenarios and hypothetical situations concerning the deployment and ownership of firearms. He called the state’s constitutional protection of firearms “critical” to liberty and safety.
Below is a list of the six most common misconceptions Sanders has found concerning firearms:
1) I must register my conventional handgun.
“If we just stick to conventional handguns and conventional long guns, there never has been a registration requirement in the great state of Louisiana. That may change, but people frequently call me to say, ‘Where do I go to register my gun?’ That’s only on TV. In Louisiana, there is no registration requirement. You can own practically anything you want to unless you get to a Class 3 weapon. That’s a fully automatic weapon.”
2) It is illegal for me to carry a handgun in my car.
“Current wording of Louisiana law shows that your car is an extension of your home. That means with your gun, you can do anything in your car with your gun that you could do inside your home. Inside your home, if you keep a gun in your bedside table, then could you keep one in the glove box of your car? Well, certainly you can.”
3) If I carry a handgun in my car, the gun must be hidden and unloaded.
“That’s not what you have to do in your house. You can keep the gun loaded in your house. You can keep the gun hidden in your house. You can leave it laying on the kitchen table if you want to. Now if you’re going to ride around with a gun on the dash of your car and a nice Caddo deputy pulls you over, it would be extremely wise that you tell us you’ve got that gun. We have a tendency to get very aggravated when we walk up on a guy with a gun in the front seat. And please don’t touch it while we’re standing there talking to you.”
4) I must have a concealed handgun permit to carry a gun in my car.
“The concealed permit says you only have to have a permit if you’re going to conceal it. There’s no permit required for open carry. … It’s when you’re going to hide it on your person that a permit is required.”
5) I need a permit to keep a handgun in my home.
“That’s the great thing about the way Louisiana law is written. Your home is your castle. It’s your castle. You can do whatever you want inside your home with a gun as long as you don’t violate other laws. There’s no permit required to keep a gun inside your home.”
6) A handgun is always the best first option for dealing with trouble in and around my home.
The death of a teenage robber last week in Shreveport was “sadly tragic, but justifiable,” Crichton said. The woman who shot and killed the teenager had her life threatened, even though his end goal was stealing her property.
Crichton presented several hypothetical cases for which a firearm isn’t the best way to tackle a problem around the home. Defense of life — your own or another — is justification for measures up to and including lethal force, Crichton said. Defense of property is not.