U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- On 14 May, 2021, Alabama Representative Shane Stringer was fired by Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran because Representative Stringer is a strong proponent of Constitutional Carry in Alabama. From policetribune.com:
But Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran and Capt. Stringer have clashed politically since he joined the department.
Mobile County Sheriff’s Department Spokeswoman Lori Myles said that Capt. Stringer’s political views ran afoul of Sheriff Cochran’s beliefs, AL.com reported.
Sheriff Cochran disagreed with Capt. Stringer’s sponsorship of constitutional-carry legislation, Myles said.
Representative Shane Stringer was a Captain in the Mobile County Sheriff’s office. He was Chief of Police in Satsuma, Alabama, before he was elected as a representative.
Here is an image of the statement released by Representative Stringer. Shane Stringer is a member of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, where HB 618 is being considered.
From Representative Shane Stringer’s press release (for those who have difficulty reading the image):
State Rep. Shane Stringer (R – Mobile) said on Friday that he is proud to stand in defense of the Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians despite being fired by Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran for his position on the issue,”
“The U.S. Constitution does not say you have a right to keep and bear arms as long as you pay what amounts to a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said. “It says you have the right to keep and carry firearms… period.”
Stringer said that despite Cochran’s action, he remains committed to his legislation and to the Alabama law enforcement community.
“As a state legislator, I swore an oath to God that I would support the U.S. Constitution, and this legislation does just that,” Stringsaid. “And whether or not I am employed by the Mobile Sheriff’s Office, my heart and soul will always belong to the mission of enforcing the law and to my fellow officers who seek to protect the men, women, and children of Alabama.”
On Monday, 17 May, 2021, Alabama legislators may vote on HB 618, a Constitutional Carry bill, according to Al.com. Because of procedural rules, May 17th is the last effective day of the 2021 session. It is a long shot that HB 618 could be heard and passed in one day.
In 2017, this correspondent related how he had been discriminated against because of his support for the Second Amendment.
I was downgraded in my career for a number of years, based on my willingness to push for less restrictions on firearms use. Two separate supervisors both told me that was the reason I was downgraded, in separate conversations, years apart. They were sympathetic, and appreciated that I did not hold them responsible. As I recall, one of them volunteered the information, the other responded to a carefully worded neutral question.
As a white male who had no reasonable claim to membership in a specially protected group, I judged it best to forgo legal challenges.
There can be a price for integrity and/or activism. It is wise to pick your battles and chose your favored field of action. I do not regret my decisions.
At some point, you have to draw a line and make what may be life-altering decisions.
Representative Stringer deserves accolades for his integrity. It remains to be seen, how much he and his family may suffer for it.
Alabama has one of the highest rates of carry permits in the nation. About one-third of adults have permits.
Those permits must be obtained, and can only be obtained, through a county sheriff. As of 2020, there were 1,085,404 Alabama concealed carry permits. The cost of a permit in Alabama is about $20 per year.
The money from permit applications go to the Sheriff’s Office. Many have stated the Sheriffs oppose Constitutional Carry, because this source of revenue could be reduced. About 20 million dollars a year is at stake, about $6-7 per year, per person, averaged out. The money has few strings attached, by the state, so it is, essentially, a slush fund for the Sheriff. Some counties in Alabama place additional limits on how the money may be spent. This correspondent has not found such restraints in Mobile County.
Alabama has 67 counties, ranging from about 9,000 in population (Greene) to 658,000 population (Jefferson).
Mobile, the county where Sheriff Cochran fired Representative Stringer, has a population of about 413,000. On average, this would mean the carry permit system in Alabama would bring in about $2.7 million dollars a year, every year, for Sheriff Sam Cochran to use for public service, as he pleases, as long as it is not directly used for his personal benefit.
In 2014 only 12.9% of Adults in Alabama had concealed carry permits. In 2014, 14.1% of Mobile County residents had concealed carry permits. That was above the state average, indicating Mobile County likely has a higher than average number of permits issued in 2021.
Concealed Carry permits soared since the Alabama carry law was reformed in 2013.
Retired military veterans are not required to pay a fee for pistol permits. It is unknown how many of the million-plus pistol permits are issued without cost to retired military veterans.
The initial application for a permit must be made in person. The Mobile County Sheriff’s office is only open for this purpose from 8-5 on weekdays. This places an additional burden on people who hold ordinary employment.
While open carry in Alabama does not require a permit, a pistol may not be carried in a vehicle without a permit. This places a considerable burden on open carry, making transportation of a pistol quite inconvenient without a permit. It is likely one of the reasons for the high percentage of adults with carry permits.
Millions of dollars in fees to sheriff’s departments, with relatively little accountability, is a strong motivation for sheriffs in Alabama to oppose Constitutional Carry.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.