A compromised gun rights bill cleared the Alabama State Senate Thursday night. One of the bill's sponsors said it seeks to protect and clarify gun owners rights.
"I'm very pleased we were able to pass a comprehensive gun rights bill in Alabama. That will protect our second amendment rights and also clearly defines the rights of law enforcement as well," Russellville Senator Roger Bedford said.
The Alabama Sheriff's Association objected to the bill at first. The sheriffs did not like being forced to give permits to an applicant they were suspicious of at the time. Under the compromise, a sheriff must state a reason and allow for an appeal in court. Another change would take out giving away permits at no costs.
"We made a compromise with the sheriffs so they can pay for a multi-year permit. Annually you can only get one a year. You can buy five years but it has to have a cap on it," Sen. Bedford said.
The bill must still clear the Alabama House of Representatives. Birmingham Representative John Rogers does not like the compromise, especially the part about keeping a load weapon in a vehicle at work.
"Why would you allow a man to carry a gun to work? Leave it in a car, put bullets in his pocket, get mad at a supervisor, goes postal and kill everyone at work," Rogers said.
The Birmingham Chapter President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has concerns about changing Alabama's gun laws. Calvin Woods recently lost a close friend to gun violence, 76-year old Birl Jackson.
"This is not something we can do and shut it down tomorrow. We got to continue to work against this violence," Woods said.
Bedford is confident the compromise bill will pass on the last day but Rogers expects it will be close.
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