Alabama police chiefs weigh in on gun control debate

Alabama police chiefs weigh in on gun control debate

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

It's not everyday every police chief in Alabama is in one room.  A bi-annual conference of Alabama police chiefs brought them to Montgomery for continuing education training.

But guns and their role in society was on each chief's mind. 

"We have over 20,000 laws now on the books that deal with guns," says Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson.

Chiefs from Andalusia, Millbrook, Prattville and Wetumpka say while they never want tragedy to strike their cities, they don't believe guns should be banned.

"If they've gone through the process to be able to have a firearm, I think they should be able to carry it," says Wetumpka Police Chief Celia Dixon.

But they do think there should be exceptions.

"We need to find out what is causing these problems, issues such as mental health and do a better job of making sure firearms don't fall into the hands of people that don't need to have them," adds Johnson.

Some chiefs say the federal government holds the key to keeping guns out of the wrong hands by enforcing stricter penalties for offenders and providing more information--especially for those suffering from mental health illnesses.

"If the federal government would step forward and say every crime committed with the use of a weapon...that's federal time," says Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams.

"Backgrounds...we need to enforce that more. Be more information available to law enforcement so we can keep up with who needs to have guns and who doesn't," says Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson.

Many chiefs say their police officers have already participated in active shooter training following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

 

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