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House Democratic Caucus call for action on guns before Legislative Session ends

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Democrats in the Alabama House of Representatives are calling for bills dealing with guns to be dealt with before the end of this year’s Legislative Session.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the Democratic House Caucus called for the Legislature to deal with gun control bills.

Specifically, they pushed first alert laws, which would alert authorities to violent-prone individuals. The reports would come from first-hand accounts of those who had encounters with the individuals.

State Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, is sponsoring a first-alert bill that would allow family members to request an Emergency Risk Protective Order to prevent those violent-prone individuals from obtaining weapons.

“We must do more to prevent dangerous situations and gun violence in the first place,” Coleman said. “This is a commonsense measure that fills a gaping hole in existing law that would do just that.”

At Wednesday’s conference, all the speakers stressed that passing the bills would be urgent as the next mass shooting could be right around the corner. Coleman said that bills like hers would prevent shooters like the Parkland, Florida, shooter who killed over a dozen people three weeks ago.

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Coleman and the other speakers also dismissed a bill supported by Republican representatives that would arm educators in Alabama. The bill, filed by state Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, was a response to the Parkland shooting.

Ainsworth’s bill is facing steep opposition from some representatives for its potential legal implications.

The Democratic House Caucus indicated at the press conference that they would be open to negotiating with Republicans for a middle-of-the-road initiative, and said bills similar to theirs in other states did enjoy bi-partisan support.

In addition to Coleman’s new bill, the Democrats also have controversial gun legislation of their own currently in the Legislature. Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, proposed a ban on all semi-automatic weapons, and Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, has filed a bill to ban the sell of assault weapons to anyone under 21.

Both bills face opposition from Republicans and will most likely not pass in a session that seems to be nearing its end.

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