Sheriff: No to new gun bill

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 19, 2016

Legislation would OK firearms in car sans license

Alabama sheriffs and police chiefs are opposing a bill that would make it legal to carry loaded guns in cars without a permit.

Law enforcement officials attended a meeting Wednesday to express their opposition.

Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks said he was unable to attend the meeting due to a previous commitment, but said he was in Montgomery several weeks ago when Wednesday’s meeting with legislators was planned. He agrees with the sheriffs’ stances, he said.



The bill law enforcement opposes is by Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, and would allow a person to carry a pistol without a license on property under his or her control, in his or her vehicle, in his or her place of abode, in his or her fixed place of business and on the property of another or a vehicle owned by another, with consent.

Law enforcement officials are upset because the bill would allow people to carry loaded guns in their vehicles with no permit.

Current law, which has been in place for decades, allows drivers to carry a loaded gun only if they have a permit.

Currently, drivers who do not have a permit must unload their guns and have them out of reach.

Legislators did not touch in-car restrictions on firearms when they passed the 2013 gun legislation that allowed citizens to open carry in public places without a permit.

But they have worked to relax those rules every session since then.

“This bill that they are trying to pass again, I hope this doesn’t pass,” Meeks said. “If it does, it’s going to be a bad bill and a dangerous deal for law enforcement.”

Meeks said the passage of the law would put law enforcement officials in more danger than they currently are.

So far this year, eight police officers have been killed by gunfire in the United States. Thirty-nine were killed by gunfire in 2015.

“We already get criticized enough for the way we handle our jobs,” he said. “If this passes, we’ll have to handle our jobs in a different way. It’s not going to be at times citizen-friendly. It’s just a bad bill. It shouldn’t have even come back up. We are trained and we know how to do our jobs.”

During Wednesday’s public hearing, Allen said, “if you are for this bill, you support the Second Amendment. If you are not for this bill you are for gun control.”

State media who were present said that Allen’s statement got an distinct “boo” from the audience of law enforcement officials.