By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
While the Legislature is expected to adjourn within the next few weeks, several gun bills are still in making their way through the body.
Leadership in the House met last week to sort out the conflicting bills, but here are the proposals as currently filed.
Raising the age to 21
In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, shooting state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, filed a bill to restrict the age of buying an assault weapon to 21. Many see it as a reaction to the shooting, which involved an 18-year-old former student who legally purchased his weapon.
In the bill, an assault weapon is described as a semiautomatic rifle that has a detachable magazine with a list of characteristics. It also includes provisions to ban those under 21 from purchasing a semiautomatic pistol that can accept more than 10 rounds.
But even if the bill makes its way to the governor’s desk, it may face litigation. The National Rifle Association has already filed a lawsuit in Florida, where their state government enacted an age cap just this month.
Perhaps one of the most prolific bills to hit this session was a bill to arm educators who have received a certification from the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.
The bill filed by state Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, was also filed in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, shooting. Ainsworth, who is running for lieutenant governor, said the proposal would allow teachers to defend themselves during a mass shooting.
Arming teachers also gained the support from the White House, with President Donald Trump supporting the plan after the shooting. A recent plan released by the Trump administration also includes a proposal to arm educators.
Gun Violence Protective Order Act
A group of Democratic representatives filed this bill to allow for a process to restrict firearm purchases from disturbed people.
Specifically, it would allow for courts to order the restriction of weapon purchasing from people who have been proven to be a danger. The order would be requested by first-hand witnesses who can testify why someone should not own firearms.
At a press conference last week, Democratic representatives said this bill would have prevented shootings like Parkland.
They also said they would work with Republicans on a bi-partisan effort to push the bill. They said in other states that similar bills have also enjoyed bi-partisan support.
Banning all assault weapons
Filed by state Reps. Mary Moore and John Rogers is a bill that would ban the sale of assault weapons in the state.
In the bill, the definition of assault weapons is broad enough to include AR-15s. In recent years, banning the AR-15 and all its models have been a point in a national debate. The full list of bannable weapons includes a list of 67 weapons including shotguns, pistols, and rifles.
The bill also said it would not be a Constitutional Amendment, and thus it will not be voted on by the people of Alabama in a statewide vote.