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Gun Debate Dominates Legislative Session

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On the first day of the Alabama Legislative Session over 150 Second Amendment supporters were gathered in Montgomery to welcome back the Alabama legislature and ask for a strengthening the protections that the state through passage of the Omnibus Firearms Bill.

The rally was organized by former Congressional candidate Al Mickle and Carl James the day before the Senate Business and Labor Committee addressed the Omnibus Firearms bill on Wednesday.  The Omnibus Firearm Bill, Senate Bill 129, is sponsored by state Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale and is endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Rally organizer Al Mickle urged participants to write their state legislators urging them to support SB 129.  Mickle wrote on Facebook, “THANK YOU, each and every person who attended the rally(s) in Montgomery, on Tuesday. ALABAMA IS ONE STEP CLOSER, TO TAKING A STAND FOR STATE’S RIGHTS, AND OUR 2ND AMENDMENT! Now is NOT the time to stop however. Please continue calling, writing, showing up in legislative offices, e-mailing, etc. YOU are the difference, but you sure don’t want to tell your children and grand-children that you COULD have done something but either got too busy or just didn’t do it.

On Saturday, Mickle told a a prepper group in Pelham that the bill does not give gun enthusiasts everything that they wanted but that it does go a long way towards resolving existing issues with Alabama law.

The Omnibus Firearms bill does several things:

First it strips Alabama employers from being able to prohibit their workers from keeping weapons in their vehicles.  The guns and ammo must still be kept out of sight within the locked or attended vehicle.

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Second the bill will make it legal for Alabama residents to carry a pistol in any vehicle without having to have a concealed carry permit.

Third it strips Alabama Sheriffs of the authority to deny someone a concealed carry permit unless the permit is already prohibited by federal law.  The bill requires that a Sheriff must issue the permit within thirty days.  Sheriffs would use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) to run the background check on a concealed pistol permit.

The new concealed carry permits would be good for one to five years.  The length of the permit would be decided on by the person seeking the permit.

The bill would recognize as valid all other state’s concealed carry permits in Alabama.

The bill would strengthens Alabama’s current firearms preemption by giving the state legislature complete control over regulation and policy pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation and policy is applied uniformly throughout the state.

The bill was addressed by the Senate Business and Labor Committee on Wednesday and is expected to be debated on the Senate floor possibly as soon as this week.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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