House Committee Administration of Criminal Justice
2021 Legislative Session SB 118 Testimony

Thank You Chairman James and Committee Members. My name is Tom Costanza Executive Director with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops. Thank you Senator Morris for bringing this bill so that we could have an honest dialogue about such an important issue.

The LCCB commends this House Committee on Criminal Justice on it transformative work to reform the criminal justice system. But SB 118 is particularly important to oppose. This bill does not promote a culture of life but will continue to foster a culture of violence.

It is the position of the LCCB to oppose this “permit-less carry” proposal “as it would remove important and reasonable safeguards to protect human life in our communities.”

Not only would it place our communities and workplaces at greater risk but put our police officers, at the point of interaction, at greater harm. We would implore you to listen the testimony of the Police Chief Association who oppose this bill for those reasons.

It is also incorrect to assert, as some proponents would, that poor communities cannot afford the proper training. In addition, the increased trauma by witnessing more violence to our families by passing this bill is unnecessary.

In my previous position as a Division Director with Catholic Charities we operated a Cornerstone Kids and Isaiah 43 Mentoring ministry, many kids who have witnessed violence and how we have continue to use trauma informed care to lessen the impacts on their lives when children witness violence.

We urge this Committee to continue to confront the “growing culture of violence with your continued commitment to a culture of life” SB 118 fails to reflect this commitment to life and instead makes it easier for persons to act and endanger our communities, workplaces and police officers. Respect for the dignity of human life will be further eroded with this bill’s passage. We urge you to continue to promote a culture of life and not report this bill favorable. Thank You.