By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday the Alabama Senate passed SB286, the Omnibus Gun Bill which addresses several issues in Alabama law that have troubled Alabama gun owners. The bill will now go to the Alabama House of Representatives where it faces an uncertain future. While Colorado and Connecticut, at the urging of President Barack Obama is stripping gun owner’s liberties, the Alabama Senate is increasing gun liberties.
Senate bill 286 was sponsored by Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale. It creates a new free lifetime permit allowing firearms owners to carry their weapon in in a vehicle. This bill also clarifies parts of existing Alabama law to strengthen citizens’ right to carry a firearm.
Senator Scott Beason said, “This bill has received an overwhelming positive response from fellow Senators and my constituents and I am thrilled that all sides were able to work together. I feel this is the first step to further protect our second amendment rights and I am proud to have sponsored such an important bill.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said, “I want to thank Senator Scott Beason for his steadfast leadership in getting this bill through the Senate. He is a true patriot who wants to protect all Alabamians and their Second Amendment rights. Senator Beason diligently and patiently worked through the legislative process with all sides before finalizing this important piece of legislation. The liberal interests have tried for years to take away our constitutional gun rights, but this will not happen in Alabama as long as Republicans control the legislature.
This bill amends Alabama law so that carrying a visible, holstered firearm in a public place is not a violation of state law. This bill affirms a gun owner’s right to store their weapons in their vehicle and protects them from unlawful no firearms policies by their employers. The bill also allows business owners to post adequate notice prohibiting firearms. Violators, including licensed carriers, could be arrested for trespassing if they refuse to leave when asked in the presence of a law enforcement agent. The bill also expands the “Castle Doctrine” to businesses. This would allow the use of deadly force for self-defense when an intruder enters a business.
Armistead said, “I have every confidence that the House will pass this bill and send it to the Governor for his signature. Republicans have kept their pledge to ‘Defend Our Rights’ during this legislative year. Defending our constitutional rights is the most important thing we can do here in Alabama. Since many of the liberals in Washington seem to have no regard for our constitution, it is incumbent upon the states to protect our own. And, that is what the Alabama Legislature has done. I believe that every law abiding citizen has a right to defend and protect themselves without bureaucratic government interference. Alabama has taken the first step to protect freedom, I hope that other states can follow our lead.”
Several Alabama Sheriffs have objected to the bill which would limit their authority to reject pistol permits and would strip law enforcement of the right to harass people who open carry. The lifetime vehicle carry provision also has the potential of increasing the number of armed motorists. The bill is supported by the powerful National Rifleman’s Association (NRA) and many Alabama Tea Party groups.