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Proposal would require companies to sign pro-gun vows in gov’t contracts


Proposal would require companies to sign pro-gun vows in gov’t contracts

Apr 23, 2024 | 9:09 am ET
By Wesley Muller
Proposal would require companies to sign pro-gun vows in gov’t contracts
A gun rack with assault rifles is displayed at a weapons retailer. (Getty Images)

Louisiana lawmakers are considering a proposal to prohibit companies from winning government contracts if they refuse to do business with firearm companies or pro-gun groups. 

Senate Bill 234, sponsored by Sen. Blake Miguez, R-New Iberia, was voluntarily deferred Monday before the Senate Finance Committee after members chose to defer all of Monday’s bills to consider them at a later date. 

Despite not holding a vote, the committee still heard debate on the measure. It would add restrictions to Louisiana’s public bid law to prohibit any state or local government from contracting with any company unless the contract contains a written verification that the company will not “discriminate” against any “firearm entity” or firearm trade association. 

“Citizens should not be compelled by their government to fund gun control,” Miguez said.  

The proposal defines “firearm entity” as any business that manufactures, distributes, supplies or sells guns, gun accessories, ammunition or shooter training, and it considers a “firearm trade association” as virtually any pro-gun group. It qualifies discrimination as the act of refusing to do business based solely on the entity’s status as a firearm entity or trade association. 

Testifying in support of the bill, the National Shooting Sport Foundation’s Darren LaSorte told the committee large corporations that provide essential services “are trying to starve us of essential services and ultimately destroy us.”

In the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school in 2018, several large corporations — including Citigroup, Bank of America and Walmart — adopted policies to limit their business with gun retailers that don’t adopt simple measures such as performing background checks or prohibiting gun sales to people under 21.

The Louisiana State Bond Commission has previously engaged in so-called ESG (environmental, social and governance) profiling to do business only with banks that share their conservative ideology. Miguez said the commission adopted a similar rule requiring contracts to include a gun-friendly vow. 

Critics of the rule warned it could limit competition and cost the state money, but Miguez said those fears turned out to be unfounded as the state actually ended up saving money. 

Joe Gendron, a lobbyist for the Louisiana Bankers Association, told the committee his organization is concerned with how the measure would be enforced. Miguez has proposed an amendment that would authorize the state attorney general or any local district attorney to void any contracts deemed to be in violation and sue the violating companies for fraud, breach of contract or on any other legal grounds.  

“We do have some concerns about that — putting one person … just to be able to unilaterally make that decision and actually void a contract,” Gendron said. “It’s one thing to not enter a contract. It’s one thing to not renew a contract, but to have one person that can just say, ‘This is null and void by my reading,’ we are concerned about.”

Miguez said his bill would protect Second Amendment rights and spark economic development, claiming it would advertise Louisiana as a pro-gun state and convince large gun manufacturers and other pro-gun businesses to relocate here. 

Sen. Katrina Jackson Andrews, D-Monroe, pointed out that Louisiana is already one of the biggest pro-gun states in the nation and wanted to know if any gun companies have set up shop here because of that culture. 

Neither Miguez nor LaSorte could say offhand how many gun manufacturers currently exist in Louisiana. 

Miguez’s bill would apply only to contracts of at least $100,000 and would not apply if a government entity doesn’t receive bids from any companies that have signed the pro-gun vow.