Gun Rights to be a Big Topic in 2017 legislative session
February 2, 2017
Southern Torch (3337 articles)
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Gun Rights to be a Big Topic in 2017 legislative session

PHOTO: Several bills have already been filed to strengthen gun rights within the state. (File Photo)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. Many bills that have been filed for the 2017 legislative session will be focused on gun rights in Alabama. While Alabama is perceived to be extremely “pro-gun,” lawmakers and citizens believe that loopholes exist which can be used to restrict second amendment rights in some cases.

In some cases, current laws need revamping to protect gun owners, namely those who chose to carry a concealed handgun. Currently, concealed carry is permitted within the state, as long as citizens obtain the necessary permit from their local sheriff. Without a permit, it’s currently illegal to have a loaded firearm concealed within a vehicle.

Senator Gerald Allen (R – Northport) pre-filed a bill that will make the permit unnecessary for carrying a concealed pistol within the state. “It’s time we give our citizens the right to bear arms without first seeking the government’s permission,” Allen said in a statement. “We already allow open carry without a permit, and there is no logical reason for continuing to require a permit for concealed carry.”

Allen’s bill, SB 24, would still keep the permitting system in place. While Alabamians won’t need one for carrying within the state, it will still be necessary to have a permit for carrying in other states which honor an Alabama permit.

According to Eddie Fulmer, President of BamaCarry, an advocacy group for the lawful carry of handguns, says that there is a lot of misconceptions surrounding the bill. One being, that this will give the right to felons to carry handguns.

“The only people that get permits to start with are law-abiding citizens. This does not change that, felons and criminals will still be prohibited from carrying or owning a firearm,” said Fulmer.

Also many people believe that there will be no reason to obtain a permit: “BamaCarry insists that it’s members keep a valid permit, even if the bill passes, so that they can continue to carry in other states that honor Alabama’s permit,” said Fulmer.

Senator Phil Williams (R – Rainbow City) has also prefiled a bill (SB 2) that will keep municipalities and counties from imposing taxes or other regulations that may restrict gun rights. According to Williams, despite having good second amendment protections, anti-gun advocates are finding loopholes to discourage gun, ammunition, and pistol permit purchases.

“The City of Seattle passed an ordinance that required a, ‘special user fee’ for gun and ammunition purchases. Since it was written as a, ‘special user fee’ instead of a tax, it was upheld at the state supreme court level and not seen as an undue burden on the Second Amendment,” said Williams.

“In another situation, one town in Massachusetts, the local sheriff enacted a policy that required someone seeking to obtain a permit to write a 10 page essay,” explained Williams.

“They are trying to find artful ways around the second amendment, and my bill simply says, ‘no,’ you can’t start adding additional restrictions or hoops to jump through,” Williams said.

Other bills will also be going to committee in the house. HB 13, submitted by Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D – Birmingham) seeks to impose harsher penalties on those who buy a firearm for someone not lawfully allowed to possess one. It’s currently a felony to do so already, and it’s unlikely the bill will pass in the Republican controlled house. 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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