By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, May 4 the pro-gun rights group, BamaCarry, announced in an open letter to state Senator Arthur Orr that they could no longer support the omnibus gun rights legislation after changes in the House version that they claim weakened the bill. On Wednesday, April 29 the House Public Safety & Homeland Security committee substituted Rep. Christopher England’s (D from Tuscaloosa) HB47 with HB328. BamaCarry now opposes this newest version of HB47 and are asking the Senate to pass SB262 which is the original version of HB328 that was endorsed by the National Rifleman’s Association (NRA) as well as BamaCarry
The statement by BamaCarry co-founder Eddie Fulmer, was made in an open letter to SB262’s Senate Sponsor Arthur Orr (R from Decatur). Fulmer wrote, “On behalf of BamaCarry, INC. I would like to thank you for sponsoring SB262. BamaCarry, INC supports it 100%. The companion bill that was in the House, HB328, has had a substitute and is now unacceptable to our members. I have no idea why a liberal, gun hating, democrats bill would be merged with a good bill. I am authorized to speak on behalf of our vested dues paying members when I say we oppose the substitute, HB47.”
Fulmer wrote, “There are way too many loopholes that can turn an otherwise law abiding citizen into a criminal. This is now a bad piece of legislation. We ask for you to keep SB262 intact, as originally filed. BamaCarry, INC has vested members all over the state. If you add up all our groups, as best as we can tell, we have well over 25,000 who’ve joined us on social media. We currently have affiliated groups in 18 different locations around the state that hold meetings every month. We’ve not had one member who likes the sub bill which took the place of the original HB328. It’s important to me that the republican majority stand up for the rights of Alabama Citizens. I’m asking that you not accept any sub bill on SB262 on behalf of all the members of BamaCarry, INC.”
The Alabama Gun Rights Network has continued to support the legislation. On Thursday, April 30 the Alabama Gun Rights Network (AGR) defended the gun bill, HB47, that was crafted in the Public Safety & Homeland Security committee on Wednesday. AGR wrote in their release: “A lot of folks are asking questions about HB 47, unfortunately much of the information coming out of some circles is not only misleading but in many cases outright false.” AGR said that, “Factions from all over Alabama arrived at a critical mass and worked together to achieve something many suggested could not be accomplished – a bi-partisan gun rights bill sponsored by a Democratic Representative from Tuscaloosa, passed by a Republican controlled House Committee with only one no vote cast in opposition.” “The true story behind this goes all the way back to last summer when Alabama Gun Rights hosted a legislative summit on gun rights at the state house.”
The NRA supports the passage of HB328. The NRA wrote: “This important legislation seeks to achieve pragmatic and necessary reforms to Alabama’s firearm laws. If passed, HB 328 would amend Alabama’s unduly restrictive minor possession of pistols law and repeal the state’s duplicative and intrusive pistol registration process.”
The compromise version of HB328 is now HB47. The original version of HB328 is Senator Orr’s SB262 which is in the Senate.
Another closely watched piece of gun legislation is Senator Gerald Allen’s SB14, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 7 to 2 vote for favorable report. It is still waiting to come to the Senate floor.
Senator Allen (R from Tuscaloosa) said in a statement on Facebook, “Senate Bill #14 will protect the fundamental right of law abiding Alabama citizens to self defense while in his/her vehicle. All the states that touch the borders of Alabama do not require a pistol permit to carry in their vehicles. A vehicle is extension of your home and you should have the right to defend yourself in your vehicle without having to buy a pistol permit.”
SB14 would allow all Alabamians with all their gun rights to carry a loaded firearm in their vehicle, without the requirement of a pistol permit. Under current Alabama Law, citizens may open carry guns in public; but that gun must be unloaded and locked in a box away from the reach of the people in the vehicle when they get in their automobile, unless they have a concealed carry permit.
The Alabama Sheriff’s Association opposes SB14 because of greater risk to officers making traffic stops and because most Sheriff’s departments in the state rely heavily on the concealed carry fees for things like vehicles.
BamaCarry has endorsed SB14.