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Second Amendment rights group questions Strange’s record on gun rights as AG

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, while the National Rifle Association supports Luther Strange for Senate; some gun rights groups have been skeptical of Strange’s support for guns while he was Alabama’s Attorney General from 2011 to 2017.

Aaron Smith, a spokesman for Alabama Second Amendment North Central said in a statement, “Alabama Second Amendment would like to clarify Senator Strange’s alleged pro 2nd Amendment stance.  Senator Strange’s ads state that he has fought for the 2nd Amendment, but that can’t be further from the truth.   Senator Strange has a record of where he stands on 2nd Amendment issues, and it falls far short of what he claims.   In 2013 many Alabama gun laws changed, and one of the changes was to the preemption statue.   13A-11-61.3 gives the entirety of gun regulation, and policy to the legislature, and provides a means for citizens to file petitions to the Attorney General if they feel the law has been violated.”

Alabama Second Amendment continued, “Right after this change in law, petitions were sent to the AG’s office, and were then ignored by the Attorney General.   In 2014, just before Luther’s reelection, he met with gun rights advocates to discuss these petitions, and assured them that he was unaware of the petitions and that he would make sure they were handled properly in the future.  Another meeting on January 7th he again met with gun rights advocates and told them all the complaints had been handled, and was handed proof that they had not been.   In early 2015 more petitions were filed, all being returned with simply “no violation found at this time” letters.”

According to Alabama Second Amendment, “The law requires the AG, within 90 days of receiving a petition, to either file suit or publicly state in writing why a violation of the spirit of the law has not occurred.  These letters sent to petitioners privately did not meet the requirements of the law, as they did not justify why the law wasn’t being violated by the posting of “no gun” signs.   At a third meeting with the AG on, May 12th, the requirement for a public justification was pointed out.   Luther Strange and his staff at this time, said that the justification would be like giving an opinion, and that citizens were not entitled to an opinion.”

The gun rights advocacy group claims that Luther Strange blamed the inaction on poorly written laws, and suggested that the legislature would have to fix it.

Alabama Second Amendment claimed, “On May 26th a Bar complaint was filed on Luther Strange for not following the requirements of the law, by an Alabama Second Amendment member.   Luther gave a water thin response as to how he wasn’t our lawyer, and that the rules of professional conduct didn’t apply to us.  The Bar Association accepted his reply and said that they would take no further action.  On July 2nd another letter was sent to the Bar Association challenging Luther’s weak response.  In this letter it was pointed out that the law requires us to file a petition with the AG and he was our lawyer acting on behalf of the state and the states laws.”  “On July 16th the same Alabama Second Amendment member received a phone call from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s office saying that the illegal pistol permit language that he petitioned the AG’s office about, had been fixed.  This illegal permit language was first filed on February 5th and was found not to be in violation of the law then.  The law had not changed but now for some unknown reason, it was violating the law.  On July 29th the AG published his first public statements concerning removing the pistol permit language, removing illegal signs at Moulton Recreation ball fields, and stating how a complaint about Alabama colleges did not fall under his authority to enforce the law.  Since then not one guilty municipality has had a lawsuit filed against them, nor has the AG stated how those guilty parties were not violating the law.”

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The group further claims that, “On at least 10 occasions the Attorney General has failed to comply with the 90 day timeline the law requires, with one case taking almost a year to resolve.  In this case he let Huntsville keep signs posted by making the Von Braun Center headquarters for the Huntsville police departments bike patrol, after they had broken the law for 31/2 years. Luther Strange has been inconsistent in his rulings, hasn’t’ followed the law, and in some cases has went out of his way to allow facilities to keep signs posted, and let sheriffs continue to mislead the public by allowing them to keep placing illegal restrictions on our pistol permits.  Luther’s words may say he supports the 2nd, but his actions prove otherwise.”

Alabama Second Amendment is not the first group to express misgivings about Strange,s record on guns.  Gun Owners of America (GOA) has endorsed former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) for the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.

Chairman of GOA Tim Macy expressed concerns of appointed Luther Strange’s true loyalty. “Strange has pledged his loyalty to Senate leaders,” Macy said. “Unfortunately, he has quickly become a ‘Swamp Creature.’”

Macy said, “Judge Moore has long been an articulate, and uncompromising, champion for gun rights.”

Moore’s Campaign Chairman Bill Armistead said, “Having the support of Gun Owners of America and the 1.5 million members and activists they represent is just the latest example of the conservative grassroots coming together to support Judge Moore.”

Armistead said, “We need a champion for Alabamians in the Senate, not someone who will be a yes man for the failed leadership of Mitch McConnell.”

The runoff will be on September 26, 2017.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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