By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Near the end of a public hearing on a bill, brought by Sen. Gerald Allen, that would eliminate a requirement for a permit to conceal carry a firearm, a past president of the NRA strolled to the lectern.
He was, of course, in favor of the bill, because it helped further the notion that guns make everyone safer – except for when they kill 30,000 of us each year – which would in turn increase sales.
Prior and after Porter, Law Enforcement officers from around the state took to the lectern to voice their opposition. They said the permits saves lives, solves crimes and generally helps them do a tough job better.
The Sheriff’s Association is against it. The commander of a Huntsville drug task force spoke against it and offered specific examples of cases solved and criminal stopped because of the permits.
The committee passed the bill and it will move on to the full Senate for a vote.
The argument that seemed to win the day – outside of the money that pours in from gun advocacy groups, such as the NRA – was that the permit requirement doesn’t make anyone safer. Lawmakers actually said this out loud to the Law Enforcement officers who were saying the opposite.
The thinking, which you’ve likely heard in some form before, goes like this: criminals won’t apply for the permits so you’ll only be hurting law-abiding citizens by forcing these permits on them.
It’s a suspect argument.
While it’s true that criminals won’t apply for the permits, that also means that criminals aren’t allowed to conceal carry or carry a loaded gun in a car – all things that criminals routinely do.
And Law Enforcement officers use the cover of the permit to stop suspicious individuals and take them to jail. The officers who spoke Wednesday said they’ve broken many cases by being able to stop a suspect, hold him for the gun charges and begin a more formal investigation.
There was also a constitutional argument made, with Sen. Clay Scofield asking what the final line of the 2nd amendment of the Constitution says. Allen said, “…shall not be infringed upon.”
The first part of the amendment, which might be considered more important since the founders put it first, states that the arms are for a “well regulated militia.”
No Republicans voted against it. Sheriffs in the hearing were not happy afterward and vowed to fight against it during the floor vote.