By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, the Alabama Senate Republican Caucus released its “Strengthen Alabama” Legislative agenda for the 2017 Regular Session. Senate Republicans are promising to provide tax cuts for Alabama’s working families, reform State government to save taxpayer dollars, protect Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights, and uphold the sanctity of human life.
On gun rights, the caucus wrote: “Protect Second Amendment Rights:
“Permit-less Carry? Ten states across the country allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit, and Senate Republicans believe Alabamians should have a similarly unimpeded right to protect their families and property.
Therefore, a repeal of the requirement for a conceal carry permit shall be a priority in the 2017 Session. Alabamians could still apply for a pistol permit in order to carry a gun in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida that have reciprocity laws with Alabama. A pistol permit holder would also retain the benefit of foregoing a background check when purchasing firearms.”
Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) is sponsoring legislation to allow Alabama gun owners the right to carry their handguns concealed with them at all times. Sen. Allen said in a statement, “Last week I pre-filed legislation in the Alabama State Senate to allow Alabamians to lawfully carry guns without a permit. This permitless carry proposal would remove a needless restriction on Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights and make it easier for citizens to protect and defend their families and property. Alabama should be leading the way on constitutional gun rights. More than ten states across the country already allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit. It’s time we give our citizens the right to bear arms without first seeking the government’s permission. We already allow open carry without a permit, and there is no logical reason for continuing to require a permit for concealed carry.”
Alabamians already have the right to carry their handguns openly, everywhere except in their vehicles, without a permit. Under present law handguns have to be unloaded, locked in a box, and away from reach unless you buy a concealed carry permit, this does not apply to long guns which are legal to carry openly or in vehicles.
The Alabama House Republicans Caucus has already included this item on their “Alabama Proud” agenda. Since the Republicans have super majorities in both Houses and both GOP Caucuses this agenda item will be prioritized in both Houses and is virtually certain to pass into law.
Sen. Allen’s earlier effort to pass a bill just allowing Alabamians to keep their loaded guns in their vehicles without a permit was narrowly defeated in the 2016 legislative session due primarily from opposition from law enforcement, particularly the Sheriffs, who use concealed carry permits to raise substantial revenues. Sen. Allen says that Alabamians will still the permits so that their concealed carry rights remain in effect when they travel to neighboring states.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said, “I look forward to working with my colleagues as we roll up our sleeves and put in the necessary work to implement these bold reforms, which strengthen Alabama’s future and will create more opportunity for the hard-working taxpayers of this state. Senate Republicans are committed to building a lasting, positive impact that makes Alabama a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The “Strengthen Alabama” agenda will also include the following legislative items: a crackdown on Medicaid Fraud. The creation of a Judicial Resources Allocation Commission; raising the income threshold to $23,000 for the highest available deduction, and increasing the deduction ceiling to $33,000 for the married-filing-jointly, heads of family, and single persons in order to help Alabama’s working families keep more of their money (More than 180,000 Alabamians will see a net decrease in taxes owed to the State under the Senate GOP plan); legislation to ban assisted suicide; and protecting the Religious Freedom Rights of child-placing agencies to declines to provide a child placement which conflicts with the religious beliefs of the provider.
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said, “Senate Republicans remain focused on passing balanced budgets for Education and the General Fund. We will also pursue tax relief for Alabama’s families and reform of State agencies to save taxpayers money. The State Constitution gives us thirty legislative days to conduct the people’s business, and we intend to get to work immediately on this legislative agenda that will strengthen Alabama.”
The 2017 legislative session begins today, Tuesday, February 8, 2017.