When the Alabama Legislature passed a law last session to end the permit requirement for the concealed carry of a pistol, Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, said that came with promises to law enforcement.
One of those promises was the creation of a duty for an individual to disclose to an officer that they were carrying a concealed weapon. But when the Legislature created that duty, it did not come with a penalty.
“Considering everyone can now carry concealed or not, in order to make that situation a little bit safer we need to require them to disclose they have a pistol,” England said. “If that was a commitment we made, we can’t follow through with that if the duty to disclose doesn’t have a penalty on it. This helps us keep our commitment to law enforcement and make that punishable. There has to be a penalty imposed if you lie to a police officer about your possession of a pistol.”
The current law states that a person must inform a law enforcement officer that they are in possession of a pistol if the officer asks in the line duty. England’s bill adds that a violation of that law is a Class A misdemeanor.
England said this is just one case of several in which the promises made to law enforcement to secure passage of the law are not operable.
“There are other promises that are not operational, and that leaves officers at a disadvantage,” England said. “The database that was supposed to be created for felons prohibited from possessing, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t even exist yet.”
The Legislature also created grants to make up for the revenue loss by eliminating permit requirements, but England said the process was flawed.
“They based the grants on losses from the 2022 budget, but as soon as we passed the law, people stopped buying permits because they wouldn’t need one in the future,” England said. “So that’s not an accurate representation of how much was actually lost from budget.”