Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Illegal "No Weapons" signs at rest stops in Alabama




It appears that some bureaucrat in Alabama has decided to post Alabamans' rest stops with signs that are toxic to the second amendment and Alabama law.  As reported on opencarry.org, the signs say "No weapons beyond this point".


It’s the AL rest stop eastbound I-10 @ AL/ MS line, about 15 miles west of Mobile.

According to Skidmark at opencarry.org, rest stops are not listed as prohibited places for possessing weapons.

Alabama's preemption law was strengthened in 2013, as part of a package of second amendment friendly reforms.

Arizona, now known as one of the states most respectful of second amendment rights, had a similar problem with illegal signage of rest stops in the 1990's.

It took activism by Arizona gun owners to have the signs removed.  An open carry picnic at the Sacaton rest stop on I-10 near Tucson was organized in 1998.  Rick Destephens, who was there, writes about it:

Have you noticed that there are no longer any signs at Arizona rest stops that read, "Keep all weapons in your vehicle"? That was Brassroots and S.A.F.E. combine effort back in 1998. We staged a forty-man protest at the Sacaton rest stop and five TV cameras showed up. We then got three hours of time on Bob Mohan's show on KFYI. That resulted in Hull's, ADOT's and DPS's phones melting down for two weeks. The signs came down later that month.

The picture below is reported to have been on the rest stop east of Opelika off I-85.

 Picture courtesy of Backwoods Engineer at BackwoodsEngineer.com

Alabama law specifically forbids the "Possession of firearms by persons participating in, attending, etc., demonstrations at public places."  So a picnic at an Alabama rest stop would have to be careful not to fall under this statute, or be prepared to test the law in court.

It is clear that Alabama does not want the exercise of the first and second amendments to occur at the same time.   This is a violation of constitutional rights, and may be an opportunity for further reform.     The open carry of firearms is clearly a form of political speech.

I sent an email to aldotinfo@dot.state.al.us on January 9th, 2014,  Here are the questions that I asked:
1. Were the signs put up recently?

2. Were the signs authorized, and if so, by who or what agency?

3. What legal authority exists for putting up the signs?
I have not received a reply from the Alabama Department of Transportation.   Perhaps residents of Alabama would have better luck.   If you obtain answers to the above questions, I would like to know.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

Update: Not sure if Alabamans take this motto seriously:

 

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