By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, August 4, SB14 sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) passed with a favorable report out of the Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation General Fund by a 7-1 vote. SB14 would recognize a law-abiding gun owner’s right to possess a concealed firearm in a vehicle, without having to have a government issued concealed carry permit. SB14 is eligible for consideration by the full Senate as early as Wednesday.
The bill is supported by both the National Rifleman’s Association and BamaCarry.
The Alabama Legislature adjourned its 2015 Regular Session in early June, and has been called to a Special Session by Governor Robert Bentley (R) to consider essential legislation pertaining to the Alabama Budget. During this Special Budget Session, any legislation up for consideration that is not germane to the Alabama State Budget, must pass both the Senate and the House with a 2/3 majority vote.
BamaCarry co-founder Eddie Fulmer wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “SB14 has now passed out of committee and will hit the floor of the Senate within a few days. The senate is not the problem here. It’s getting the bill to the floor of the house. Mike Hubbard has been the main roadblock to making this happen. Del Marsh is complicit also. The ASA (Alabama Sheriff’s Association) doesn’t want this to pass and Hubbard is in their pocket. Another reason the ASA is not our friend when it comes to our gun freedoms!! This will be the 3rd time this has been presented to the House with “No Action” the first 2 times. Now is the time to make something happen. This is an embarrassment to the Citizens of Alabama in that we have a House, dominated by republicans, who don’t want Citizens to have the right of self-defense without paying a fee!! Stand up and be counted here. A phone call only takes a few minutes. Our chance is here again!! Stand up for our rights! I know we can count on you!”
The NRA-ILA wrote on their website, “While passage of this important legislation during the Special Budget Session would be subject to significant procedural obstacles, the fact that the Senate is reexamining the issue is indicative of the immense amount of support within the Legislature for this bill. With support continuing to grow, gun owners around the state should remain hopeful that lawful concealed vehicle carry without a permit will become state law in the not-too-distant future.”
State Senator Gerald Allen sponsored this legislation in the regular session as well but the Alabama House of Representatives did not have time to take up the measure before the regular session ended. Despite that setback, Sen. Allen said in a Facebook statement, that he is not giving up on legislation that would allow gun owners to take their loaded weaponry with them in their vehicles whether or not they have a concealed carry permit. Sen. Allen’s SB14 which would have given Alabamians the right to travel the roads with our loaded firearms if a need for lethal force should arise.
Sen. Allen wrote, “I will continue my efforts to pass this bill. I believe in the fundamental right of law abiding Alabama citizens to self-defense while in his/her vehicle. 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.”
Under current State law, every law-abiding gun owner may keep their weapon with them in their automobile, but it must be out of reach, locked in a box, unloaded.
Alabama is an open carry State, meaning that it is perfectly legal to go to town with your gun strapped to your hip where everybody can see it. However, it is not legal to have that firearm with you on your person in your car, unless you have purchased a concealed carry permit from your local sheriff’s office. Presently, to be legal, citizens who open carry without a permit have to take that weapon out of it’s holster, unload it, and put in a locked box, away from reach like a trunk, then reverse the process to leave the vehicle. This rather strange way of doing things was the result of compromises in the 2013 Omnibus Gun Bill. Most gun owners recognize that there are difficulties with this regimen and purchase the concealed carry permit.
This is where the problem lies:
The Alabama Sheriff’s Association is concerned that allowing lawful carry in automobiles could lead to more road rages incidents and more armed confrontations with motorists as well as fewer concealed carry permits sold and a loss of revenue for the Sheriff’s departments. Alabamians hold more concealed carry permits per capita than do residents of any other state so this is not an inconsequential amount of money.
SB14 advocates, like BamaCarrry, argue that this is not true. People that lawfully carry now will renew their permits to keep the option of carrying concealed.
In the 2015 regular session, the bill passed out of the Senate; but languished in a House Committee for weeks and was never made a priority by House leadership.
The NRA and BamaCarry hope that both the Senate and the House will move rapidly to get this legislation to the floor this week.