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Guns in Vehicles Bill Dies in House

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, May 5, State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) commented on the failure by the Alabama Legislature to take up his gun bill, SB14. The Alabama Senate passed SB14, which would allow Alabamians to carry a loaded gun in their vehicles; but the Alabama House of Representatives would never act on the bill.

Sen. Allen said in a statement, “It is disappointing the House Public Safety Committee chairman would not allow a hearing on SB14 after it overwhelmingly passed the Alabama Senate. SB14 is common-sense legislation that allows law-abiding citizens to legally carry a handgun in their vehicle without having to purchase a conceal-carry permit. Law-abiding citizens should not have to pay a fee to exercise their constitutional 2nd Amendment right. I will continue the fight, so that all law-abiding citizens can defend their family & property with a firearm without burdensome, restrictive government regulations standing in the way.

The Alabama Senate passed SB14, 26-7, which allows law abiding citizens to carry a handgun in their vehicle without having to purchase a pistol permit.

Currently Alabama and North Carolina are the only Southern states where it is illegal to carry a gun in a vehicle, unless you purchase a concealed carry permit. The legislature attempted to fix this with the Omnibus gun bill, but the resulting compromise (a handgun can be in a car but it must be unloaded, locked in a box, and out of reach) satisfied almost no one.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) supported SB14. The NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) wrote: “Senate Bill 14 is important legislation that would recognize a law-abiding gun owner’s ability to possess a concealed handgun in a vehicle without first obtaining a government-issued permit. A majority of states already allow law-abiding gun owners to carry a loaded handgun in their vehicle for self-defense without government-mandated permitting and taxation. If an individual can lawfully own and possess a firearm, they should not have restrictions placed on their ability to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense outside of their home and in their vehicle.”

BamaCarry also supported the pro-gun legislation.

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Under current State law, every lawfully owning 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. Most gun owners recognize that there are difficulties with this regimen and purchase the concealed carry permit.

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This is where the problem is. 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 they argue.

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 leadership again used the same tactics to again kill the bill.

 

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