MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Jan. 4, 2022) – Three bills filed in the Alabama House and Senate would legalize permitless or “Constitutional Carry” in the state. The enactment of the bills would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Andrew Sorell (R) pre-filed House Bill 44 (HB44), along with a coalition of 38 Republicans. The bill would eliminate the need for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a pistol. It would also repeal and revise certain restrictions on the carrying or possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle or on certain property or locations.
Rep. Shane Stringer (R) and Rep. Proncey Robertson (R) pre-filed House Bill 6 (HB6). Sen. Tim Melson filed an identical companion bill in the Senate (SB12). These two bills would also allow for permitless carry and would create a process for the return of seized pistols.
All three bills would leave the current concealed carry permitting system in place for Alabamans who want to obtain a license in order to carry concealed in states with CCDW reciprocity with Alabama.
Both Stinger and Robertson worked in law enforcement. Stinger said Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran fired him last spring because he sponsored constitutional carry legislation.
“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” Stringer said. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”
According to Alabama Political Reporter, “Sheriffs rely on the pistol permit income in their budgets. The Alabama Sheriffs Association has opposed permitless/constitutional carry for years, claiming that it would make traffic stops less safe for officers.”
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing “constitutional carry” lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourage a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
All three bills will be officially introduced when the legislature convenes on January 11. At that time, both HB6 and HB44 will be assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, and SB12 heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They must pass committee with a majority vote in order to continue on in the legislative process.
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