Mark Ballard: Criticism about DA Jason Williams obscures debate about state dominance over local government

Mark Ballard: Criticism about DA Jason Williams obscures debate about state dominance over local government

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams shake hands after a press conference to announce their partnership to reduce crime in New Orleans, at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com , The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate) STAFF PHOTO BY SOPHIA GERMER Spencer Hudson was making drinks March 20 behind the bar at the Cat’s Meow in the French Quarter when he crumpled dead to the floor, shot in the chest by a stray bullet that was fired at someone else outside on Bourbon Street. Two of his friends, who also work on Bourbon Street, traveled to Baton Rouge last week to ask the Louisiana Legislature to allow the New Orleans City Council — contrary to existing state gun laws — to limit folks from toting firearms into the French Quarter and to public events like the Jazz Fest. “I don’t feel secure,” said musician Tracy Brown. House Bill 209 , by New Orleans Democratic Rep. Mandie Landry, would have allowed the council to set gun control measures that are stronger than the state allows currently. “At the end of the day, we’re asking this committee and the Legislature to allow New Orleans to carve out legislation that affects the unique problems that we have,” said City Council member Eugene Green. Hudson’s friends also were joined by Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams, who testified that Louisiana has the nation’s second-highest […]

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