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Alvin Holmes: Alabama gun law makes state ‘the wild, wild west’

(Above: Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, discusses his reasoning for wanting to repeal one of Alabama’s new gun laws)

The so-called Omnibus Gun Bill was one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation passed during the 2013 session.

The final bill, which was ultimately signed into law bill Gov. Bentley, was the product of a compromise between the National Rifle Association, The Alabama Sheriffs’ Association and the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

But some groups, like the Business Council of Alabama, remained unsupportive to the end because the law requires businesses to allow employees to keep a gun in their car at work. BCA President and CEO Billy Canary cited the Fifth Amendment and said the bill “erodes the constitutional property rights of businesses.”

Today, Rep. Alvin Holms, D-Montgomery, took his opposition a step further and pre-filed a bill ahead of the 2014 legislative session that would repeal the state’s new gun law.

His main opposition to the law seems to center on the provision stating that carrying a holstered weapon does not automatically constitute disorderly conduct.

“Well this bill here will authorize people to do [what they did] back in the old wild, wild west — to be able to carry a .45 or .38 on their side [and] walk into Wal Mart, to walk in a restaurant, to walk down the street,” Holmes explained.

Holmes said he is a supporter of the Second Amendment, but does not believe individuals should be able to “open carry.”

House Speaker Mike Hubbard said he and his colleagues are proud of the bill and believe Alabamians support their efforts to protect the rights of gun owners.

“Thanks to the Republican legislature, Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights are more secure than ever,” he said. “We will continue to prioritize and protect those rights whenever and wherever possible.

The full scope of Alabama’s new gun law is outlined below.

  • Allows those who possess a valid Alabama pistol permit to keep firearms stored in their vehicle while at work, as well as allowing those who possess a valid Alabama hunting license to store an unloaded rifle or shotgun in their vehicle while at work.
  • Allows transportation of a handgun in a vehicle without an Alabama pistol permit as long as the handgun is unloaded, locked in a container and out of reach of the driver or passenger.
  • Shifts the current “May Issue” concealed carry permit system to a “Shall Issue” permit system and requires that a sheriff must issue or deny the carry permit within thirty days.  Should someone be denied a permit, a written denial must be provided and that applicant would have an opportunity to appeal the denial.
  • A permit to carry a concealed pistol shall be good for one to five years (to be decided by the applicant seeking the carry permit).
  • Requires sheriffs to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to conduct a background check on concealed pistol permit applicants.
  • Allows for all other valid state-issued permits to carry a concealed firearm to be recognized in Alabama.
  • Strengthens Alabama’s firearms preemption statute by reserving for the state legislature complete control over regulation and policy relating to firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation is applied uniformly throughout the state.
  • Extends the current Castle Doctrine to include places of business to ensure the right of self-defense does not end when you enter your business.

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