The Alabama Legislature appears poised to take up debate on constitutional carry legislation during its upcoming regular legislative session which begins on Tuesday.
The Alabama House Republican Caucus last week announced that the issue of constitutional carry was included in its official policy agenda.
More than 40 House Republicans have committed to supporting legislation that would eliminate the requirement to purchase a pistol permit for law-abiding citizens, a long-held desire of many Second Amendment advocates who suggest pistol permits to be a tax on the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
A groundswell of support has been offered among the House GOP Caucus for State Rep. Andrew Sorrell’s (R-Muscle Shoals) House Bill 44 and State Rep. Shane Stringer’s (R-Citronelle) House Bill 66.
In the legislature’s upper chamber, two constitutional carry bills have been filed. This includes Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 12, sponsored by State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) and State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), respectively.
The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), which has long championed the implementation of constitutional carry across the nation, plans to be heavily involved in Alabama’s debate of the topic.
Dudley Brown, the association’s president, in a release urged constitutional carry advocates to apply pressure upon lawmakers to ensure the successful passage of the gun rights legislation.
“For the first time in a decade, the Alabama Legislature appears primed to pass a solid piece of pro-gun legislation,” advised Brown. “But the citizens of Alabama must keep the pressure on their elected officials and urge them to make Alabama the next Constitutional Carry state.”
According to NAGR, 21 states presently recognize an individual’s right to carry a handgun without a permit. Mississippi and Tennessee are two bordering states which have passed laws to the effect.
Brown stated the association’s intentions to press the issue until a bill is officially enshrined into law.
“For far too long the Alabama legislature has done nothing to restore gun rights which have been unconstitutionally taxed and regulated,” he added. “But we’ve made passing Constitutional Carry into law our number one priority in state legislatures all around the country — and we’ll keep lobbying in Alabama until it’s done.”
In conjunction with its lobbying efforts, the gun rights group has also taken aim at the Alabama Sheriffs Association (ASA) which has stated its public dissension to constitutional carry legislation.
“It’s sad that certain sheriffs are actually fighting against restoring gun rights to law-abiding Alabamians,” stated Brown. “Constitutional Carry laws simply recognize what we all know to be true – that the government should not force you to get a permit in order to carry a handgun.”
NAGR claims that the ASA’s disapproval of the constitutional carry campaign places it in line with Moms Demand Action, a progressive self-proclaimed anti-gun violence organization.
According to NAGR, the ASA alleges that constitutional carry laws cause crime to rise and stop individuals from voluntarily obtaining permits. The gun rights group points to data which it claims shows that constitutional carry states are among the safest in the nation. It also says the law holds no negative impact on permits.
Brown concluded, “Spreading lies and inciting fear in an attempt to kill a pro-gun bill is the same kind of underhanded tactics we see from radical leftists across the nation. It’s a shame that many sheriffs in Alabama have resorted to this. That’s why we’re mobilizing our members in supporters in Alabama – cranking up the pressure to make Alabama the 22nd Constitutional Carry state.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL