Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Suggests Repealing the Second Amendment

State GOP leaders pounce on Karen Carter Peterson's remarks

Karen Carter Peterson and Barack Obama / Getty Images
March 29, 2018

The chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party is the most high-profile Democratic official in the country to date to call for a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Karen Carter Peterson on Tuesday shared a New York Times op-ed by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who argued that the Second Amendment should be repealed because the initial reasons for its creation are "now a relic of the 18th century."

The Washington Free Beacon reached out to Peterson and the Louisiana Democratic Party for comment and clarification, but no response was offered.

Peterson also serves as a Louisiana state senator and as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The chairwoman's comments put Louisiana's incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in a precarious situation. Edwards, one of the deep South's lone Democrats in statewide office, was elected in 2015 in part because he emphasized his pro-Second Amendment views. Since taking office, Edwards has walked a tightrope on the topic, expressing limited support for banning bump stocks and strengthening background checks.

If Edwards hopes to be reelected next year, he will need to continue distinguishing himself as someone who is in some ways antithetical to the national Democratic Party, especially on the issue of gun control, in a state that President Donald Trump carried by over 20 points in the 2016 presidential election.

The governor's office did not return requests for comment.

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Republican Party slammed Peterson on social media for expressing "radical" views on gun policy that are out of the political mainstream. The party urged voters to contact Peterson and let her know that they do not agree with her sentiments.

The Louisiana Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landy (R.), who has been floated as a potential challenger to Edwards in 2019, told the Free Beacon that he found Peterson's comments "shocking" but symptomatic of a larger problem the Democratic Party has in recognizing the "expression of personal liberty."

"The core of the Second Amendment is the right to defend one's self; to remove that right is the first act of tyrants," Landry said. "It is shocking that today's liberals do not understand or appreciate the importance of this expression of personal liberty."

Peterson's comments also elicited rebuke from U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R., La.), another potential Edwards challenger. Abraham castigated the chairwoman's remarks on social media, saying that the Second Amendment is an inherent right "not to be infringed" upon.

Abraham told the Free Beacon that he found the statements concerning and out of step with the majority of Louisiana voters.

"I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. It is a core right that's guaranteed to us by the Constitution," Abraham said. "I am very troubled that the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party would support something as radical as the repeal of this right that so many in our state and nation cherish and exercise lawfully."

The congressman also said that Peterson's sentiments pose serious questions about who the Democratic Party actually represents.

"Her statements should make everyone question just who the Democratic Party stands for: average Americans or the extreme left?"