A proposed bill to ease restrictions on possession of firearms is advancing in the Alabama state legislature, but not without pushback from some of the state’s sheriffs.
The legislation, SB 14, was initially crafted by Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen. Allen’s proposal is meant to ease restrictions on where Alabama residents can carry their firearms and who can carry them at any time. In other words, the proposal would allow residents to carry their firearms around in their vehicles even if they do not hold a concealed carry permit, Guns.com reported.
The legislation easily passed the Alabama Senate chamber in May but was put on hold. Now that it’s back on the schedule, local law enforcement officers have taken notice to the proposed changes.
“There’s legislation being put forward that wants to allow you to have a loaded weapon in your car, under your seat, without any background check, without any pistol permit as an extension of your home,” Sheriff Heath Taylor of Russell County said on Aug. 11. “And we are absolutely opposed to that.”
In addition to the already stated gun law changes, the legislation would allow anyone over the age of 18 to carry a loaded gun into their vehicle, business or home without a permit. Current Alabama law refers to this action as disorderly conduct, even if the perpetrator has never committed a crime before.
The group of more than a dozen sheriffs argued that the most recent changes to the state’s gun laws have negatively affected the police precincts throughout the state. A law passed in 2013 initially granted citizens the right to carry a firearm in their personal vehicle, among other freedoms. Taylor used the movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, to further explain his viewpoint.
“That goes beyond just running a background check, and seeing who has a felony in their background,” he said. “We know things the computer can’t tell us, we know things about our citizens, we know who’s going through a divorce, we know who’s in a bad time, who may be drinking too much who may be abusive but hasn’t necessarily crossed the line of a crime.”
In Louisiana, assailant John Houser was initially denied a gun permit in 2006 in Russell County. During a screening of the movie “Trainwreck” on July 23, Houser killed two people and wounded nine others in a shooting during the movie in Lafayette.