U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- “Constitutional Carry” is one step closer to becoming law in Alabama, following a 65-37 vote by the state House of Representatives, despite opposition from sheriffs, county commissioners and school resource officers.
Published reports say nine Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with 28 Democrats to vote against House Bill 272.
According to WHNT News, the bill must now be approved by the Alabama Senate before going to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.
As noted by the Montgomery Advertiser, State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle), suggested opponents of the measure who contend the permit requirement will help keep guns out of the wrong hands are mistaken.
“The fact of the matter is, criminals don’t obey laws,” Stringer observed. “A $20 plastic permit is not going to stop someone from committing a crime or doing wrong.”
In May 2021, according to the Yellowhammer News, Stringer was dismissed from his position as a captain with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office because of his support for permitless carry. The newspaper said Stringer and Sheriff Sam Cochran had a “difference of opinion.”
The Montgomery Advertiser also quoted Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Fairview), who concurred with Stringer’s assessment.
“Criminals don’t fool with permits,” Shedd stated. “They don’t fool with paperwork. They buy guns, maybe not at a legal place to buy them, and use them in illegal ways.”
The Alabama Reporter quoted one Republican opponent, Rep. Allen Farley (R-McCalla), who said he had debated permitless carry for a dozen years.
“People say ‘Well, if you buy a gun, they’re going to run a background check on you’,” Farley argued. “But 20 to 40 percent of people with guns didn’t buy them from a store where a background check is run on them … This is another safety net for us to catch those people that should not have a firearm. It’s another tool in the toolbox.”
His argument was countered by Rep. Proncey Robertson (R-Mount Hope), who observed, “There are a lot of tools that we carry. These tools evolve over time. Technology has changed and we should evolve and change with that as a society. There was time in my opinion when pistol permits were needed. Some people had different reasons for those needs, some pure and some not. With any process we’re looking at, we should be looking for ways to do it better.”
At a Feb. 1 press conference in Montgomery, opponents of the legislation said in a prepared statement, “This proposed legislation will allow dangerous criminals to avoid background checks or other security checks and carry weapons into K-12 school athletic events, carry weapons openly or hidden in vehicles and carry weapons into most businesses across the state.”
But criminals already do that, as Stringer and Shedd both explained. It’s a criminal trait not confined to the Yellowhammer State. From Miami to Seattle, law enforcement officers frequently find convicted felons in possession of firearms they shouldn’t have.
In Alabama, the cost of a carry permit is $20 and they would still be available for the purpose of traveling to other states with reciprocity legislation that recognizes licenses/permits from other states, same as driver’s licenses. Also, restrictions remain intact regarding carrying firearms on school grounds and private property.
The concept of “Constitutional Carry” has already become law in nearly half of the states, a fact that is alarming to anti-gunners, such as billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary, Moms Demand Action.
It also doesn’t sit well with Alabama Democrat lawmakers. As noted by the Montgomery newspaper, Democrats raised several objections, including preventing youths from getting firearms. Rep. Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham) argued “We need to be trying to prevent our kids from getting guns.”
But youngsters can’t legally carry concealed handguns, anyway.
Another reason for opposition to the measure was reported by the Alabama News, which noted, “House Democrats argue that the bill would actually defund the police without the funding that currently comes from permits.”
The Alabama debate over constitutional carry once again demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans differ dramatically when it comes to guns, but that there are some GOP lawmakers who cross the line as well. Likewise, in some states, pro-gun Democrats have been known to thwart their own caucuses, or at least put in some legislative speed bumps.
About Dave Workman