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4/1/2/ Town Hall-Links to AL Senators PDF  | Print |  E-mail

THANK YOU  to all those who attended the Common Sense Campaign's Town Hall Meeting with Sheriff Sam Cochran this evening, 4/1/13.  The audience participation in the Q&A session made it obvious that citizens have investigated the issues around gun control/gun rights and wanted to know more.  Once you know how you feel, call your Alabama Elected representatives and tell them how you think they should vote and if you think the law should be amended in some way to reflect your opinions.  NOW is the time to do that.  They can amend it and vote on it within hours or days.  NAMES AND PHONE NUMBERS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AFTER THE NOTES.  Please forgive any inadvertent errors. I've tried to write down what I thought was mentioned by everyone. :~) Callie

Senate Bill 286 passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan 7 to 1 vote. This bill could be considered on the Senate floor as early as Tuesday, 4/2/13.  SB 286, sponsored by state Senators Scott Beason (R-17) and Roger Bedford (D-6), seeks to restore and protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Alabama by addressing the following issues:  Notice the RED INK designates the issues of concern for ALL 67 Alabama Sheriffs.

  • No employer (or business?) may prohibit the otherwise lawful possession, transportation or storage of firearms or ammunition that is kept out of sight within a locked or attended private vehicle of an invitee who is otherwise permitted to operate or park that vehicle on the property. This would allow employees to carry a firearm during their commute to and from work.   Do we really want teenagers driving around with handguns in vehicles and or taking them to school?
  • Repeals the requirement to obtain a pistol permit in order to carry a pistol in a vehicle. (Note: this would not allow for concealed carrying in a vehicle unless a valid pistol permit is possessed.)  Do we really want teenagers driving around with handguns in vehicles and or taking them to school once concealed permits are NOT required to have a gun in the vehicle?
  • Shifts the current “May Issue” concealed carry permit system to a “Shall Issue” permit system and requires that a sheriff must issue 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 appear before an appeal panel.
  • 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.  This Background check system (NICS) is totally under the control of the Federal Gov't and our local Sheriff's office has access to more accurate background check systems at this time.
  • 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.

Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran’s comments regarding SB286 are as follows:

There are a number of reasons I and all the 66 other Sheriffs are opposed to the Bill [SB286].  First let me say we don’t believe the law regarding concealed carry needs to be changed at all.  It is working well. I’ve received no complaints, as have most Sheriff’s.  In Mobile County, last year in 2012, we issued 38,094 permits.  We turned down approximately 2 ½ % of applicants for statutory reasons, i.e. “certain persons forbidden” to possess a firearm by law.  Examples are convicted felons and those convicted of domestic violence who can’t even legally possess a weapon under both state and federal laws.  Discretion wise, I turned down or revoked approximately 15 persons, due to arrests, bad behavior, lengthy arrest records, drug violations, or other reasons gathered through investigative means that I thought they were unfit or a danger to have or continue to have a permit.  Each of these persons would have a right to appeal to Circuit Court.  I have fixed our system to where this year I will be able to specify exactly the number of permit requests I’ve turned down discretionarily.

In particular, this bill would take away the discretion of the Sheriff to issue.  The Sheriff is the best person in the county to make the determination.  He/She has access to arrest records, court house records, and intelligence information not available to other persons in government.  “Shall versus May” would result in many persons who may have been committed to mental institutions, drug usage, lengthy juvenile records, and reasons as mentioned above being issued permits, but are NOT recorded in (NICS)

This bill would remove the requirement to have a pistol permit to carry a pistol in a car.  By removing this requirement, there would be minimal reason to have a permit, as people can “open carry” now.  In doing so, this would allow anyone but a convicted felon to carry handguns in vehicles, including teenagers.  Note, teenagers are allowed to possess handguns, they’re just not able to purchase them under age 21, (federal law).  Do we really want teenagers driving around with handguns in vehicles and or taking them to school?

This bill would prohibit municipalities from passing any laws within their municipality.  Only laws that would remain on books are discharging a firearm within the city limits.  For new cities, like the city of Semmes which has not yet passed any city ordinances, they would have to go to legislature to have a law passed prohibiting firing within their city.

They are many other issues, that are questionable to others, but the above are our main objections.  I also believe in the law of unintended consequences, this bill has been put together so quickly and moved forward with the committee allowing only one law enforcement officer to speak on it, doesn’t bode well.  It will have unforeseen problems.

The law currently gives discretion to Sheriffs and their deputies to use force including in some instances deadly force.  Why not allow him/her discretion to protect lives using that same discretion?


Disclaimer:  I've tried to make sure that every Senator is listed and that each phone number is correct.  The name should be linked to a page where you can write an email to MOST senators through a link.  God bless you all for your love of America and Her Freedoms. Callie

Senator Party District Office Phone
ALLEN, Gerald (R) 21 334-242-7889
BEASLEY, Billy (D) 28 334-242-7868
BEASON, Scott (R) 17 334-242-7794
BEDFORD, Roger (D) 6 334-242-7862
BLACKWELL, Slade (R) 15 334-242-7851
BREWBAKER, Dick (R) 25 334-242-7895
BUSSMAN, Paul (R) 4 334-242-7855
COLEMAN, Linda (D) 20 334-242-7864
DIAL, Gerald (R) 13 334-242-7874
DUNN, Priscilla (D) 19 334-242-7793
FIELDING, Jerry (R) 11 334-242-7898
FIGURES, Vivian Davis (D) 33 334-242-7871
GLOVER, Rusty (R) 34 334-242-7886
HIGHTOWER, Bill (R) 35 334-242-7882
HOLLEY, Jimmy (R) 31 334-242-7845
HOLTZCLAW, Bill (R) 2 334-242-7854
IRONS, Tammy (D) 1 334-242-7888
KEAHEY, Marc (D) 22 334-242-7843
MARSH, Del (R) 12 334-242-7877
McGILL, Shadrack (R) 8 334-242-7858
ORR, Arthur (R) 3 334-242-7891
PITTMAN, Trip (R) 32 334-242-7897
REED, Greg (R) 5 334-242-7894
ROSS, Quinton T., Jr. (D) 26 334-242-7880
SANDERS, Hank (D) 23 334-242-7860
SANFORD, Paul (R) 7 334-242-7867
SCOFIELD, Clay (R) 9 334-242-7876
SINGLETON, Bobby (D) 24 334-242-7935
SMITH, Harri Anne (I) 29 334-242-7879
SMITHERMAN,Rodger (D) 18 334-242-7870
TAYLOR, Bryan (R) 30 334-242-7883
WAGGONER, "Jabo" (R) 16 334-242-7892
WARD, Cam (R) 14 334-242-7873
WHATLEY, Tom (R) 27 334-242-7865
WILLIAMS, Phil (R) 10 334-242-7857