Local Alabama Officials Love Their Useless ‘No Guns’ Signs

© 2016 by Phillip Evans

No Guns Gun Free Zone
Gun Free Zone
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

United States -(AmmoLand.com)- Those city and county officials are a hoot, aren't they?

The front door of Clay City, Alabama's city hall had a sign back in January prohibiting guns.

Then, along came Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange who released a statement telling Marion and Dallas counties that their signs on public buildings and at public parks did not comply with the law, since Alabama has state preemption with regard to the possession and carrying of firearms.

Local governments are forbidden to ban firearms at any place which state law does not ban them.

The only way publicly owned properties (if not otherwise off-limits under state law) can legally ban firearms with a sign, is with the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features, including, but not limited to, magnetometers, key cards, biometric screening devices, or turnstiles or other physical barriers.

We'll Just Wait As Long As We Can

Clay City Manager Ronnie Dixon heard of the AG's statement to Marion and Dallas counties, and agreed to take down their gun-buster signs if he could confirm that he had heard accurately.

“We've just been waiting on (AG Luther Strange) to put it out. I've been expecting it, but I haven’t seen it. If that’s the ruling, they’ll come down. It’s not anything that we've enforced anyway,” Dixon said.

So let me get this straight, a city manager who should have already been at least a little familiar with state law with regard to firearms, if he is going to post signs prohibiting them, apparently was ignorant of the law? After all, Alabama has had firearms state preemption for several years now.

Do not city and county governments have competent legal counsel to keep local officials accurately informed of state law? If not, why is taxpayer money funding those city attorneys? I guess good help is hard to find.

Just For Appearances

Since Dixon admitted the signs were not enforced anyway, just what was the purpose in leaving them up? Did he not have the budget to take them down? Were they viewed as beloved works of art, that he just didn't have the heart to remove them?

Do local officials really have to wait until the AG tells them to behave before they agree to obey state law? Mere citizens don't have the luxury to wait and decide to follow the law.

Surely, no one is naive enough in Alabama city or county government to truly believe that a sign prohibiting guns would stop armed criminals from coming in to do harm, are they?

But it is completely reasonable to believe that many law-abiding citizens would heed such signs and leave their guns in their vehicles over concern of getting in any trouble.

When good people disarm, and bad people don't, what is the result? However you shake it out, it's not good. Do not people like Dixon understand this?

The Real Reason

Gun Free Zone
Gun Free Zone

Here's what I believe: Local government officials place a high value on the exercise of their authority. They want to show their citizens their power to throw their weight around, even if it is contrary to state law. Even when they know and understand the law, they do not like to back down. They still wait until ordered by a higher government authority before changing course and admitting they were wrong.

The prerogative of citizens to exercise their rights, even to protect their own lives, takes a seat far in the back to the desire of local officials to show their power to rule. When caught, these officials either claim ignorance of the law, or blame the law itself even when it is crystal clear, or they just claim they want to do it anyway, because they think they should be able to.

Their arrogance and impudence knows no bounds.

Citizens have a mechanism to file a complaint with which to get the attention of the AG to tell local government officials to obey the law. The fact that such a mechanism exists proves my point precisely. Here is the link to the form: http://www.ago.alabama.gov/File-Firearms-Law-Petition.

Still Intransigent

Even to this date you can find prohibitions of firearms on the websites for various public zoos, botanical gardens, libraries, museums, and other city and county owned properties in Alabama. Looks like AG Strange has a lot more statements to send out.

I wonder if he could send just one that would say, “Hey, EVERYBODY follow state law!”

I suppose there's still a boatload of government officials that haven't received the memo on the state's motto: “Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere” (We Dare Defend Our Rights).

If you live in Alabama and cherish your rights, please consider joining BamaCarry.org.

Whether you live in Alabama or another state that has had trouble with local officials following state law, please comment on your experience here, and how you or others got them to comply.

About Phillip Evans:

The author is a self-defense rights advocate and member of the NRA, GeorgiaCarry.org, and FloridaCarry.org, and posts at PursuitOfPatriotism.Blogspot.com.

  • 21 thoughts on “Local Alabama Officials Love Their Useless ‘No Guns’ Signs

    1. Does anyone have good sample letter to send to Alabama Attorney General to petition a business to remove those useless “NO GUNS” signs?

      1. I sent my petition to the Alabama Attorney General on 11 Dec 2017! Since I’ve not heard from his office, I wrote a letter the Alabama Attorney General in February 2018! I didn’t receive a reply then either!!!

        For the folks in Alabama, don’t waste your time, sending anything to Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General!!!!!

    2. I just got a message telling I am posting comments too fast. What the EFF?

      You Ammoland guys prejudice against speed readers?

    3. That sign is meaningless. It is bullshit and I will not let my Second Amendment right be infringed.
      I will either go somewhere else which is what we all should do as well as tell everyone we know to do the same or I will choose to “not see that sign”.

    4. The cullman county court house has a no fire arms permitted sign with armed deputy sheriffs,is this legal?

      1. Yes, that is one of the areas specified as “Gun Free” by AL State law. Even without the deputy the sign is legal, and by law guns are prohibited in the Courthouse.

      2. Yes, Courthouses are one of the places specified in state law as being an area where possession of a firearm is illegal. Even without the deputy, possession of a firearm is prohibited, thus the sign is legal.

    5. The author (being a member of Florida Carry, Inc.) is well aware of what took place in Florida a few years back. However, for the benefit of readers who may not be aware of it, gun owners/carriers in Florida were encountering the exact problems the author described in the opening paragraphs of this article.

      Public officials, who know exactly what the state pre-emption laws required, were purposefully putting up ‘No Gun’ signs in places where they WANTED firearms prohibited. Gun owners cited for infractions in those location were able to fight the charges and get them overturned; but, it required an investment of time and resources in court and legal fees and resulted in detrimental opinions by employers, etc.

      There were even instances where local officials were on record as saying that they knew the signs were not legal; but, there were no penalties so they were going to keep doing it. Well, Florida gun owners had enough; with pro-gun organizations (like Florida Carry, Inc.) leading the way, the Florida Legislature was successful in getting the state pre-emption statutes revised to require that penalties be applied directly to elected and/or appointed officals at any level of government that knowingly ignored the state gun laws.

      The new imposed penalties ranged from fines (to be paid personally by the offending official), or jail time, or removal from office. The personal responsibility mandates (and the penalties!) seem to have finally gotten the attention of the ‘petty tyrants’ that felt they could run THEIR county/city/whatever as they saw fit. The pro-gun organizations are using their members and their legal muscle to see that new penalties are enforced

      So far, so good!

      1. I hope, after this, everybody who attempts to pass a pre-emption law will include penalties from the very beginning.

      2. We are trying to get penalties added but our “pro 2nd” legislature doesn’t seem to have the stomach (or balls) for it.

    6. I am retired police lieutenant and attorney living in Alabama near the City of Florence. After asking for clarification from police and City Prosecutor, I was told that they believed they could enforce the city code over state law. The city government had to get a letter from AG Strange before they would take down their “No Guns Allowed” signs in city parks. State DOT finally removed No Gun emblems/signs from rest area buildings along interstates after getting letter from Strange. He had received numerous complaints from Alabamians who understood the new law.

      1. Did the city of Florence request the letter from the AG after Shoals Second Amendment showed up at the Florence city council meeting with a previous ruling about Moulton, filed by Lawrence County 2nd Amendment, in hand?
        To my knowledge a complaint to the AG on Florence was never made because Shoals Second Amendment took their concerns directly to the city council. I know this meeting took place as I was there and I have also seen the video that was also made that captured the exchange.
        Perhaps the city of Florance did contact the AG as they were considering what to do because it did take them a little time to actually take down their signs. If you know for sure they requested this letter I would be interested for Clarity on the issue.

    7. We USED TO have this problem in TX; however, last year my state senator Donna Campbell (Hallowed be her name) and others, authored a bill, which has now been passed into law, that allows Texans who see such unlawfully posted signs to go after the pre-emption defying government agents who posted them. All that is required is to notify the AG, (an E-mail with a photo of the sign is sufficient) who will notify the posters and, after a 2 week grace period, start charging them over 10K dollars a day, for as long as the signs stay up. It is amazing how quickly they have been coming down since that law was passed!

      1. Leave it to Texas to come up with a REAL solution. I like that one, a lot. Seems there is an unhlealthy reticence for larger government entities to go after lesser ones, seing as they are all slopping at the same trough. Or maybe its a matter of trust? Oh, they be gummint, they CAN”T be breaking the law.

        No law is effective without sanctions… break it and pay sorts of things. State preemption? So what!! We’ll pass it anyway and make someone MAKE us not enforce it. Consider the City of Seattle, twice in recent years enacting laws in violation of State Preemption. First time, our good AtG wrote the city hooh hahs and said “if you pass that law it is illegal, you cannot enforce it and we will make you rescind it”. They did anyway. It took four or five years, hundreds fo thousands in city legal costs, probably more at the state level, Seattle got slapped down at every step along the long and expensive road to the State Supreme Court….. Probably a couple million in total legal and court costs. They’ve just eneacted a new gun and ammunition tax to be levied whtin the city limits. The biggest gun store upped stakes and moved to a nearby city. Dummies. What is needed is some serious fine action against government officials who ignore or violate state laws. When Charlie finds those iron bracelets, with their cute little chain conecting them together, installed behind his back and gets to look at them grey bars for a while, maybe he’ll think twice next time befor flipping off State Government.

        Of course, citizen direct action is also an option… how can a citizen be charged with “defacing public property” by removing a sign that is posted in violation of state law? Or putting anotheer sign over or next to it, declaring “this sign illegal and not enforceable”. Put it right over the top of the offending one, then when they remove the offender they remove the new one too.

        In my state, signs must conform to a state prescribed standard to be valid. I know what that standard is, and ignore every sign that does not comply.

        1. Or how about writing on top of the sign in black permanent ink “this violates state law (no. #, section #)” ?

          Texas should make that grace period two DAYS.

    8. We’ve had similar problems in various counties in North Carolina, but most have been rectified.

    9. This is the new tactic by the liberals/progressives. They enact what meets the liberal agenda, even when unlawful, and then wait to be forced to undo what was done – usually through the courts. This takes time, money, and effort and they are hoping to wear down their opposition. They learned this from their law-breaking hero, Obama.

      People need to wake up and start to vote these people out of office and ensure not to vote in more like them.

    10. “Do not city and county governments have competent legal counsel to keep local officials accurately informed of state law?”

      No. They do not. Our groups, Alabama Second Amendment (http://www.alabamasecondamendment.com/home.html) and Shoals Second Amendment, have taken aim directly at these illegal signs. From dealing with the city governments, I can tell you that they do what they want to despite the law until someone calls them out. Then some of them still fight it. We actually had a city councilman in Sheffield tell us, on the record, that he believed the 2nd amendment only applied to militia members.

      Fight for your rights! Ask for help, we’re glad to do whatever we can!

    11. State law does does not have a penalty for the municipalities breaking the law so they really have no motivation to voluntarily comply. Our local group has filed several complaints with the Attorney General and had success with some of those. We have also had success talking to the local municipalities and explaining the law and letting them know we have the option to file a complaint, but would rather work with them directly and not involve the State. Some were quicker with the desired sign removal than others and some required the AG complaint to be filed.

    12. They need to start throwing these SOB’s in jail for not obeying state law. There ain’t nothing that would get their attention like a few months in the lockup !

      1. How are they going to do that when no one holds the current White House administration accountable for willful disobedience to federal law and the Constitution and thereby setting precedence?

    Comments are closed.