Governor Robert Bentley today signed the Omnibus Gun Bill into law, giving Alabama what proponents of the bill call “the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.”
“With Governor Bentley’s signature today, Alabamians’ second amendment rights are more secure than ever,” House Speaker Mike Hubbard said in a statement. “Despite President Obama and the Democratic Party’s determination to limit the rights of gun owners across the U.S., Alabama has proven once again that our constitutional right to bear arms will continue to be prioritized and protected in our great state.”
The bill was one of the most contentious of the 2013 legislative session.
Mediators were brought into to help lawmakers craft a bill that took into account the varying concerns of the National Rifle Association, the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, the Alabama District Attorney’s Association, and the Business Council of Alabama.
Legislators were able to get each of the above groups on board with the final bill, with the exception of the BCA, which represents the state’s business community.
BCA President and CEO Bill Canary said repeatedly throughout the process that he felt the bill violates the property rights of business owners by requiring them to allow individuals individuals to leave a pistol locked in their car at work.
Other provisions of the final bill include:
- 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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