Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Alabama Strongly Considering Constitutional Carry

State Senator Gerald Allen, R-Tuscloosa, is pushing to restore "permitless" or Constitutional carry in Alabama. He pre-filed a bill on 18 January, 2016, for that purpose. From al.com:
Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, has pre-filed a bill to end a requirement that he said is an improper limit on the constitutional right to bear arms, according to a news release.

"It's time we give our citizens the right to bear arms without first seeking the government's permission," Allen said.

Alabama already allows people to openly carry a holstered pistol without a permit. Allen said there is no logical reason to continue the permit requirement for carrying a concealed pistol.
The bill is SB 24. It has significant support in the Alabama Senate. The Alabama
Senate Republicans released a set of six goals on February 6th,for the 2017 session. One of them was to pass "permitless" carry. From alsenaterepublicans.com:
Permitless Carry
Ten states across the country allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit, and Senate Republicans believe Alabamians should have a similarly unimpeded right to protect their families and property. Therefore, a repeal of the requirement for a conceal carry permit shall be a priority in the 2017 session. Alabamians could still apply for a pistol permit in order to carry a gun in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida that have reciprocity laws with Alabama. A pistol permit holder would also retain the benefit of foregoing a background check when purchasing firearms.
Alabama has a legislative session of 30 meeting days during a 105 day span.  This year the session started on February 7th.

Alabama is a Republican trifecta. The Governor, Robert J. Bentley  is a Republican. In 2015, Governor Bentley ordered the removal of signs that banned the carry of guns at Alabama rest stops. In 2016, he signed a bill that eliminated the fees for concealed carry permits for retired military personnel.  In 2010, running for Governor, he made this campaign promise:
The Second Amendment clearly grants every American the right to own firearms. As Governor I will protect each Alabamian's right to legally purchase, own, carry, and use firearms.
In the House  there are 72 Republicans, 31 Democrats, and two vacancies.  In the Senate there are 26 Republicans, 8 Democrats, and 1 Independent.  Both House and Senate seats are subject to election every four years.  The next election will be in 2018.

Support for SB24 is less clear in the House.

Alabama could become the 13th State with "permitless" or Constitutional carry.

Alabama passed a revision of it state constitutional right to carry amendment in 2014.  The amendment passed with 72% of the vote. The new amendment created a high barrier for any restriction on the right to bear arms.  From ballotpedia.org:
(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.[1][2]
The State Constitution is a significant reason to pass "permitless" carry in Alabama.

Ten states have restored the freedom to carry without a permit. They are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Vermont never required a permit to carry a firearm.  In addition, the New Hampshire legislature passed a "permitless" or Constitutional carry bill.  Governor Sununu is expected to sign it any day.

Several other legislatures are considering "permitless" or Constitutional carry bills in 2017.  Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Virgina, Utah, and Wisconsin are all considering reform legislation to restore Constitutional carry. That list may increase as the year progresses.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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