Buying Ammo and Guns in Louisiana

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

In this piece, we dissect the firearms and ammunition rules and laws in Louisiana. To do so, the piece starts out with the ammunition laws with a focus on the process of purchasing ammo and having it shipped to a residential address in LA. After that, the piece discusses the firearms purchasing process in the state, before covering the rules for both open and concealed carry. To wrap things up, the piece leaves you with some useful resources for finding where to buy firearms and shoot them in Louisiana.

This piece is not intended as legal advice. Instead, we hope that it is a useful foundation of information for folks who want to legally purchase ammo and firearms in the state of Louisiana and carry them within the bounds of the law.

While the state itself is fairly permissive, there are a few nuances to Louisiana law that make it more restrictive and can lead to something of a legal minefield for those who do much traveling within the state.

First off, Louisiana has preemption. Normally, that means that the state declares that localities such as parishes and cities cannot make firearms laws that are stricter than those at the state level. While that is kind of true here, there is a vitally important exception: Louisiana’s preemption statute also grandfathers in all still-enforced local laws that were passed before 1985.

Given that the vast majority of the localities in the state are older than that, any given locality may well have its own gun laws. Thus, Louisiana has preemption in terms of new laws but does not, practically, have preemption. This may well get addressed in case law as the years go by, but it means that it is possible to drive to the next town over and have a fairly different set of gun laws apply.

Thus, it’s important for gun owners in the state to look up and become familiar with any relevant local gun laws and ordinances. This quasi-preemption makes things legally tricky for individual gun owners and makes the state a little less permissive than other states with full, simple preemption. 

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Louisiana 

Now, we will cover the ammo laws of Louisiana. 

The ammunition laws in Louisiana tend towards the more permissive side. The state has a ban on armor-piercing ammunition, however. Aside from that ban, the buying process for ammunition in the state is regulated mostly by the federal government’s rules.

To purchase ammunition in Louisiana, the buyer has to meet two sets of federal requirements. The first is an age requirement: one has to be eighteen years old to purchase long gun ammunition, and twenty-one or older to purchase handgun ammo.

Secondly, the buyer of ammunition cannot be a prohibited person. Generally, prohibited persons are those who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people ruled mentally unfit in a court of law, or people who have been involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health facility. 

Assuming that the buyer meets both of those requirements, Louisiana is fine with people having ammunition shipped to residential addresses within the state. Do keep in mind, though, that carriers can and do sometimes impose their own requirements. Commonly, carriers might ask for an adult with valid identification to sign for the package containing ammunition.

Louisiana does not regulate magazines, so once the ammunition shows up, buyers can put the ammo into whatever magazines they deem fit.

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Louisiana 

Next, we will do the same analysis for LA’s gun laws.

Much like the ammunition laws in the state, buying guns is relatively regulation-free in Louisiana. The state does not have an assault weapons ban that either bans guns by name or by a list of prohibited features. Similarly, the state does not ban people from owning NFA items.

Buying a gun in the state follows federal guidelines. Just like with ammunition, the buyer has to meet both the age requirement and cannot be a prohibited person. From there, the buyer should bring a valid form of identification and payment to the gun store. The FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF Form 4473 for a background check. Once both the background check and payment are clear, the buyer is free to leave with their new firearm the same day.

Louisiana does not place additional waiting periods on gun sales, nor does it require that private persons who are selling guns run a background check on potential buyers. It is generally advisable, however, for anyone selling a gun to be reasonably sure that the buyer is both of age and not a prohibited person.

While buying both ammunition and firearms in Louisiana is permissive, carrying is a little less so. Technically, open carry is not forbidden at the state level, but keep in mind that any local gun laws before 1985 might well still prohibit it, so this is down to the city/town/parish level.

To concealed carry a firearm in the state, a permit is required: permits are handled by the state police and are issued on a shall-issue basis.  The Louisiana concealed carry permit is fairly widely recognized, especially by surrounding states.

Like all states, there are places where firearms are prohibited even with a concealed carry permit. In Louisiana, those places include:

  • Police stations

  • Correctional Facilities

  • Courthouses

  • Polling places

  • Meeting places for local authorities

  • The State Capitol

  • Airport terminals

  • Places of worship

  • Permitted parades 

  • Bars

  • All schools

This list is not unusual, even for the most permissive states.

Louisiana is home to several firearms manufacturers, including Wise Arms, who make AR-style rifles and pistols in the state.

While the process for purchasing ammunition and firearms in Louisiana is permissive, there are a few sticking points in the state’s laws that make it less permissive. The fact that the state mandates a permit to carry a firearm concealed makes it a little more restrictive.

The bigger issue at hand is that laws passed at the local level before 1985’s state preemption statute are still enforceable: this means that local laws, which can vary widely just a few miles from one another, are the practical laws of the land in the state. This patchwork approach to gun laws makes the state more restrictive in that no one understanding of firearms laws can be said to apply to the state as a whole.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Louisiana

The general state sales tax in Louisiana is 4.45.. But, as is the case with the gun laws, localities vary a good bit here, and the effective sales tax can be as high as 11.45%. It might well be worth it to shop around within the state for an FFL in one of the lower-taxed areas. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including those in Louisiana. The list is kept up to date and can be used to find gun stores. Generally, gun stores are Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • has a very useful tool that can be used to find gun ranges in Louisiana. Taking a moment to use the city, zip code, and mileage filters will help to find good places to shoot. Users submit ranges to the site, which is fact-checked regularly. 

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state. 

  • Bayou Shooter is mainly focused on being a classifieds page, but it is an active forum for the state and has information on local events and news that might be worthwhile for folks interested in firearms more generally. 

Louisiana Gun Law FAQ:

Technically, Louisiana has preemption. But that statute has a clause that lets local laws that were passed before 1985 remain in force at the local level. This means that at the city, town, and parish levels, there are differences from the state’s gun laws.

Louisiana allows for persons to carry a firearm concealed with a permit, and it is a shall-issue state.

The state bans armor-piercing ammunition. Aside from that, it’s perfectly legal for adults to have ammunition shipped to their houses, assuming they meet the legal requirements to buy the ammo. 

The state of Louisiana does not impose any additional waiting periods on the purchase of firearms. As soon as the Form 4473 and payment are clear, people are welcome to go home with their new firearms.

Sort of. At the state level, there is no law preventing the open carry of firearms as long as those firearms are legally owned. But, because local gun laws passed before 1985 can still be enforced, there are many parishes, cities, and towns in the state that forbid open carry. Before openly carrying a firearm in Louisiana, it is advisable to make sure that everywhere you plan to go with that firearm allows open carry.