By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, January 5, President Obama announced a series of executive orderes regarding the purchase of guns and additional funding for mental illness, while making it more difficult for Americans to sell guns unless they obtain a gun dealer’s license from the federal government. At the state level, many Alabama legislators are responding to the news.
State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) said in a statement, “I will not stand idly by as this president gradually disarms Americans via executive fiat. I have introduced a bill for the 2016 legislative session that will extend Alabama’s existing castle doctrine to a person’s vehicle. You have a fundamental Second Amendment right to defend your family and home with a firearm. We shouldn’t require free citizens to get a gun permit to defend their person and property, and that should include your vehicle.”
Senator Gerald Allen’s bill, SB 14, would allow Alabama citizens to have a loaded firearm in their vehicle. Under current law, unless you have a concealed carry permit, your handgun needs to be unloaded and locked away from reach every time you go to you automobile even though Alabama allows open carry of firearms when you are not in your vehicle. SB 14 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Allen introduced the same bill in the 2015 regular session and in both special sessions; but the bill never got enough support to pass even though Republicans have super majorities in both Houses of the Alabama legislature and most of those GOP legislators touted their pro-gun views when running for election.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “The overreach by the Pres. seems to be his preferred way of leading, & it is critical to send a conservative back to the White House in Nov.” “I encourage the Alabama congressional delegation to listen to the message of the Alabama people & fight to protect the rights of gun owners.”
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) said, “President Obama once again illustrates his disregard for the US Constitution by issuing executive actions to further weaken your Second Amendment Rights. As a defender of law-abiding Americans’ right to bear arms, I will work with my fellow conservative Attorneys General to explore every legal option to stop the president’s efforts to undermine the rule of law.”
State Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) said, “The President should set an example and tell the Secret Service that protects he & his family to lay down their arms! Executive Order that!”
State Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) said, “Did the President move the anti-gun agenda an inch down the field or a couple of yards? My concern – If he gets a 1st down from the courts. Folks, my point is this whole thing is a test to see how far he can go and setting up the next administration which he hopes will be a Democrat. It will boil down to what the courts will allow with an Executive Order…and the courts have not been friendly to conservatives as of late. For those that support, please share with us exactly what in this Executive Order will impact/reduce the recent gun violence our nation has experienced. Anything?”
State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said, “So you could actually gift a gun to a family member and according to Obama be a criminal. That will never stand as he CAN NOT legislate. Only the congress can, this guy must hate America. He wants background checks galore for law abiding citizens that pay the bills of this great nation, but refuses background checks on Syrians who pay nothing. Living life upside down. Pray for America.”
Some are pushing for a Joint Resolution by the Alabama State Legislature making it clear that the Legislature overwhelmingly resolves that those executive orders are unconstitutional and unlawful to enforce in the State of Alabama. State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) questioned what that would actually accomplish. “A resolution is useless …That is what weak kneed politicians do when they don’t really want to fight for our rights …We passed 2 or 3 Resolutions opposing Obamacare….. How effective was that.” Rep. Henry supports a bill banning state law enforcement officers from working with federal authorities on these cases. Henry said, “I still contend if the States do not directly oppose federal intrusion with laws on the books we are being complacent. We can argue about what that language should be but a resolution will not amount to a hill of beans.”
State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) predicted, “President Obama’s Executive Order is going to inspire some extraordinary and comprehensive gun legislation in the upcoming legislative session.”