Before the 2022 regular legislative session, proponents of so-called constitutional carry legislation looked to have a clear path ahead for passage.
Despite widespread support throughout the Republican caucus, the effort faced obstacles last week when sheriffs and other law enforcement officials descended on the Alabama State House to voice their opposition.
On Friday, State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle), who has been at the center of the high-profile permitless carry debate last year and is a primary sponsor this session, said he had worked to address some of the concerns brought by education, business and law enforcement interests during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show.”
“There are a lot of moving parts with this, and you know, it ain’t over until it’s over,” he said. “You just work hard every day, and you continue to meet with all the different groups that are interested. And that includes our K-12 system, our higher ed, the BCA, manufacturing, the business owners, the business community, the sheriffs’ and law enforcement community, and just listening and let’s try and put everything that we can to make this the best bill that we can.”
Stringer said those concerns were related to the business-employee relationship and schools.
“The business community wanted things to stay the same as they are now, where it is an employee can carry a weapon in their car, to work and from work,” Stringer explained. “It just has to stay in the vehicle and secured. They just wanted to make sure that stayed in place — that people couldn’t bring guns into their work, which it does stay the same. The K-12 system had some concerns issues. Currently, you can carry a firearm into a sporting event or school if you have an Alabama permit. They actually wanted to do away with that provision. We’ve looked at all of that. I think that is going to stay the exact same. I think the schools will still be able to prohibit firearms on their campuses if they choose. But not a lot changed with that.”
Stringer said lawmakers were trying to address two of the primary concerns raised by law enforcement, which dealt with who would qualify to carry without a permit and concerns with the aforementioned prohibited users’ database.
“The sheriffs have asked for a lot of different stuff, including wanting to make this apply to only Alabama citizens — which the Constitution applies to everybody, so we couldn’t do that,” he continued. “We’re trying to listen. There were some concerns with the database whether this was only to contain information on people from Alabama and how we were going to deal with the out-of-state people. Well, we have since learned from ALEA that it is not. It is going to pertain to everybody across the country. So, that is going to be a plus.”
“We’re still working with them,” Stringer added. “They’re actually going to the committee meeting and speak at the public hearing with an update about the prohibited person database and what it can accomplish.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.