Sheriff opposes proposed gun legislation

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marengo County Sheriff Richard Bates and the Alabama Sheriffs Association are opposed to proposed state legislation regarding firearm laws that they say would be a threat to public safety.

Alabama Senate Bill 129, if passed, would take away the authority of the sheriff to issue gun permits and would also allow guns to be carried in public places, making law enforcement more difficult, Bates said. The other bill being debated is Alabama House Bill 55.

The bill, if passed, would do the following:

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•Provide penalties for public officials who participate in unlawful ordinances, rules or regulations regarding firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories

•Provide that lawfully carrying a firearm under certain conditions does not constitute the crime of disorderly conduct

•Require a sheriff to issue or deny a concealed pistol permit within 30 days of receipt of the application and accompanying fees

•Repeal the prohibition against the possession of a firearm at a public demonstration

The association believes the proposed law would do the following if passed:

•Put into law “unreasonable” penalties for public officials attempting to perform their duties

•Take away rights of property owners to control their private property or places of business

•Take away the authority of local government to protect public buildings such as schools, courthouses and other similar facilities

•Allow radical organizations to come armed to public demonstrations

•Make it easier for criminals to obtain concealed pistol permits

•Take away control from organizations, such as churches, over firearms being brought into their buildings

“We are not only concerned with the Second Amendment,” Bates said, “but all of the amendments. We want to protect property owners as well.”

Bates and the Alabama Sheriffs Association asks that people contact their representatives and senators to request that they vote “no” on these bills.

Bates said anyone with questions can call the Marengo County Sheriff’s Office at (334) 295-4208.

State Senator Scott Beason sponsors Senate Bill 129. He said one goal of his bull is to clarify Alabama law over what lawful citizens can do with a gun, and he does not believe laws should limit where a gun owner can carry a weapon.