In early 2009, Open Carriers in Louisiana were looking for a organized voice. After several discussions via online message boards and public meetings the Louisiana Open Carry Awareness League (LOCAL) was formed and is a non-profit organization registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
In July 2009 the LOCAL Forum was put online. LOCAL members use this as a tool to continue to organize and plan.
In December 2, 2009 ten members of the LOCAL forum met in LaPlace, La and formally established LOCAL as a statewide gun rights educational group. Officers were elected and by early 2010 bylaws were adopted and LOCAL was growing.
LOCAL is registered non-profit, grassroots, gun rights organization. We are a statewide organization with regional chapters and a membership is open to anyone who is interested in Open Carry and aiding in the LOCAL Mission of educating the public of the legal right to Open Carry. We are a volunteer organization and are controlled by our membership and elected officers and are owned by the membership as a whole, not by any single individual.
LOCAL started in 2009 with the intent of educating the public about their right to carry openly. We are always looking for people who are willing to help us work toward that goal. We have a web site and multiple social media accounts. We have been interviewed in the press and have been featured on some TV news clips. We open carry to exercise our rights, as a visible deterrent to crime and as a form of firearms community diplomacy, to dispel the myth that only cops and criminals carry guns, and to help reintroduce the general public and the law enforcement community to the reality that ordinary peaceful law-abiding citizens possess, use, and carry firearms.
We have held meetings across the state on a monthly basis since we formed in 2009. We have always held our meetings at locations where we are welcomed by management and staff. Our goal is NOT to cause a disturbance at the places we meet but to show that we are normal, peaceful customers and our presence makes that place safer and not a place a criminal would want to be.
LOCAL advises our members of the rights of property owners to ban firearms on their property. We have always instructed members to leave when asked by businesses or face criminal trespass charges. We may contact that business later to see if we can change their view. If we can't, then we will advise our members and others who carry to avoid the business through social media as the business has stated do not want anyone to carry guns there.
LOCAL has had several members detained and even a few arrested while open carrying. They have always complied with officers instructions and worked out issues at a later time. The side of a road or in a retail establishment is not the time or place to argue with an officer. Some of our members have retained legal assistance to defend themselves and in many cases have had charges dropped and departments educated about the laws they are responsible for enforcing. If we are stopped by the police, we advocate that you know your rights and use them. LOCAL will get involved and register complaints and point out the actual relevant law to all the involved parties and then see where we need to go from there if we are contacted by a member and asked to do so.
LOCAL doesn’t condone YouTube Commandos and will refuse membership to anyone we find participating in negative behavior such as "cop baiting". That said, we advise our members to always have a means to record encounters with citizens or law enforcement so that a record may be available should it be necessary. A decent digital voice recorder or even the video camera on most cell phones will go a long way to proving that you are acting responsibly and cooperating with authorities. Our motto is "Don't be 'that guy.'" You know, the guy who just wants attention or to make a scene. Please don't be "that guy" and antagonize the police to show how "smart" you are. It helps no one.
LOCAL has told our members from the very beginning … We do NOT promote the carry of long guns although we recognize and fully support the right as it stands. Long guns are great! Most of our members own at least one long gun - but due to urban area issues of muzzle control, lack of trigger guard coverage, and the fact that the long gun carry issue distracts from our main mission to promote the open carry of handguns in daily life, we will leave long gun carry activism in the capable hands of the future founders of web sites about long gun carry.
LOCAL is comprised of lawyers, mechanics, former and active law officers, IT Professionals, in short, people from all walks of life. LOCAL is color blind and open to all as long as you support the US and LA State Constitutions, want to help others understand the actual law, not what someone "thinks the law means" and are not looking to antagonize the police for attention. We are just regular people who happen to carry firearms.
While LOCAL advocates Open Carry, many of our members including our President and Secretary/Treasurer have state issued Conceal Handgun Permits and choose between Open and Concealed carry as appropriate. Many members have also had extra training in carry and weapon retention we and recommend that to others.
Since the first meeting, LOCAL members have worked to educate others about the right to Open Carry in Louisiana. Fliers and pamphlets were printed and mailed along with an introductory letter to dozens of radio and television news stations and print news outlets. Hundreds of Law Enforcement agencies and officials were sent mailers telling them about our mission and reminding them of the laws regarding legal carry of firearms. Emails have been sent to CHP instructors throughout the state. LOCAL pamphlets were distributed at gun shows and other events. Work on a formal webpage began and Facebook and Twitter accounts were established.
LOCAL is not affiliated with any other organizations or Open Carry groups.
LOCAL continues to educate the public and represent those who choose to legally Open Carry in Louisiana.