When deciphering the complicated rules that make someone ineligible to obtain a concealed weapons permit, it is necessary to distinguish the prohibitions in the “concealed carry” permit laws from the prohibition to possess a weapon, in general—concealed or not, handgun, shotgun or rife—after a conviction. These laws are often confused. See our information page about possession of a weapon after a Louisiana conviction for more information, NOT related to the permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Regardless of your criminal history, it is illegal in Louisiana to possess a concealed handgun without a permit. The requirements under Louisiana law to obtain a concealed handgun permit are found in Louisiana Revised Statutes 40:1379.3. Under the Louisiana expungement law, the state police will have your permission, if you apply for a concealed weapons permit, to investigate your criminal history, including any expunged arrest or conviction, though only a conviction can be used against you, if there are no pending charges. The Louisiana State Police Concealed Handguns Permit Unit takes the position that your record, including expungements, must conform to the statute restrictions in order to qualify for a permit.
To qualify for a concealed handgun permit, a Louisiana resident shall:
- Not be ineligible to possess a firearm by virtue of having been convicted of a felony.
This is where the confusion between applicable laws begins. The prohibition means that the provisions of LSA-R.S. 14:95.1 (felon in possession of a weapon) control this particular point of inquiry into your record. LSA-R.S. 14:95.1 makes it a crime to possess a firearm “for a period of ten years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence” for some, but not all, felonies.
If you have been convicted of a felony crime of violence (solicitation for murder, first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated battery, second degree battery, aggravated assault, mingling harmful substances, aggravated or first degree rape, forcible or second degree rape, simple or third degree rape, sexual battery, second degree sexual battery, intentional exposure to AIDS virus, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, simple kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated criminal damage to property, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, first degree robbery, simple robbery, purse snatching, extortion, assault by drive-by shooting, aggravated crime against nature, carjacking, illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, terrorism, aggravated second degree battery, aggravated assault upon a peace officer with a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm, armed robbery, use of firearm; additional penalty, second degree robbery, disarming of a peace officer, stalking, second degree cruelty to juveniles, aggravated flight from an officer, battery of a police officer, trafficking of children for sexual purposes, human trafficking, home invasion, domestic abuse aggravated assault, and vehicular homicide) or if you have been convicted of any burglary, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, felony illegal use of weapons, manufacture or possession of a delayed action incendiary device or bomb, possession of a firearm while in the possession of drugs, any felony violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, or any sex crime, then you may not possess a weapon for ten years from your completion of sentence.
Obviously, as long as that prohibition exists (ten years), you will also be ineligible to possess a concealed handgun (or any firearm, for that matter, concealed or not) or obtain a permit to possess a concealed handgun. Once the 10-year cleansing period has passed, you are permitted to possess a handgun or a long gun, but that is not the same as being permitted to possess a concealed weapon or to acquire a permit to possess a concealed handgun.
Additionally, if you are on probation for any felony not covered by LSA-R.S. 14:95.1, then you are prohibited from obtaining a “concealed carry” permit under this provision because probation generally carries a special condition that you not possess a firearm during the time you are on probation.
- Not have been…found guilty of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a misdemeanor under the laws of this state or similar laws of any other state relating to a controlled dangerous substance within a five-year period immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted, or be presently charged under indictment or a bill of information for such an offense.
This simply means that you must not have been convicted (or pleaded guilty/“no contest”) to a misdemeanor drug charge (simple possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, for example) for the 5 years before you apply for a concealed weapons permit, and you cannot have a pending prosecution for misdemeanor drug charges when you apply. Interestingly, you can have an arrest, as long as it does not result in a pending prosecution.
- Not have entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2 at the misdemeanor level, unless five years have elapsed since completion of sentence or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled, or unless the conviction was set aside and the prosecution dismissed, prior to the date on which the application is submitted.
Similarly, five years must have passed since you completed your sentence for any misdemeanor crime of violence before you apply for a permit. Importantly, a sentence under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 894(B) for one of these charges will waive the five-year waiting period under this provision.
- Not have been convicted of, have entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, or not be charged under indictment or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater. A conviction, plea of guilty, or plea of nolo contendere under this Paragraph shall include an expungement of such conviction or a dismissal and conviction set-aside under the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893. However, a person who has been convicted of a violation of 18 U.S.C. 491(a) shall be permitted to qualify for a concealed handgun permit if fifteen or more years has elapsed between the date of application and the successful completion or service of any sentence, deferred adjudication, or period of probation or parole. A conviction for a felony offense which has been expunged prior to August 1, 2014, pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 44:9 or on or after August 1, 2014, pursuant to Title XXXIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall not be considered a conviction for the purposes of this Paragraph if ten years have elapsed since the completion of the resident's probation, parole, or suspended sentence. However, the provisions of this Paragraph shall not apply to a conviction for a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 26 14:2(B) even if that conviction has been expunged. A conviction for which a person has been pardoned by the governor shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this Paragraph, unless that pardon expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. (text of law effective August 2016)
NOTE: This provision was extensively amended in 2016 to allow certain people with a prior non-violent felony conviction to obtain a concealed weapon permit if they have an expungement, were sentenced under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893, and ten years have passed since their completion of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. See our section Recent Changes to the Louisiana Concealed Weapon Permit Law for more information about new changes in the concealed carry laws.
This confusing provision seems to contradict the previous prohibitions because it permanently prohibits a “concealed carry” permit for anyone convicted of any felony (“any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater”) or any crime of violence (felony or misdemeanor), regardless of whether the sentence was imposed under article 893(E), or not. The Louisiana State Police Concealed Handguns Permit Unit interprets this to mean that any felony permanently disqualifies an applicant from getting a concealed handgun permit (though, of course, after the 10-year cleansing period, you can carry a weapon—just not concealed), unless the applicant has an expungement of a conviction that was also imposed under Louisiana Code of Crimnal Procedure Article 893. THIS IS A BIG CHANGE FOM PRIOR LAW. It also interprets this provision to allow a concealed weapons permit for a misdemeanor crime of violence sentenced under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 894(B).
You should essentially ignore the reference to 18 U.S.C. 491(a) and the 15-year cleansing period. That federal law applies to using a fake coin to steal from a vending machine.
The "Bottom Line" on how a Louisiana arrest or conviction will affect an application for a concealed weapons permit
The simple take-away from all of this convoluted legal verbiage in the “concealed carry” permit statute is this:
- Any felony conviction will permanently disqualify you from getting a “concealed carry” permit unless the conviction was later set aside and dismissed under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893 and the arrest and conviction were expunged. Most felony convictions will, therefore, permanently prevent a “concealed carry” permit.
- Any misdemeanor conviction for a crime of violence disqualifies you from getting a “concealed carry” permit, unless the misdemeanor was later dismissed and set aside under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 894(B). There is no “cleansing period” to wait for a misdemeanor crime of violence conviction, if the sentence was under article 894. It does not matter if the conviction was expunged.
- A misdemeanor drug conviction will require a 5-year “cleansing period” before you can obtain a “concealed carry” permit. It does not matter if the conviction was expunged.
- None of this applies to your right merely to possess a handgun after a conviction. It only applies to your privilege to obtain a “concealed carry” permit.
The Louisiana Expungement Assistance & Advocacy Center (LEAAC), a division of the law practice of S. Christie Smith IV, has extensive experience in obtaining expungements for convictions throughout the state of Louisiana, as well as in the development and application of the newly-reformed Louisiana expungement laws. If you have any questions about getting a Louisiana expungement, please call LEAAC at 318.445.6546. An attorney will review your case, offer suggestions on the best course of action for your circumstances, and answer your questions—often on the same day.
Updated September 2016