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Alabama: Critical Pro-Gun Reforms Awaiting Consideration by Senate

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Alabama: Critical Pro-Gun Reforms Awaiting Consideration by Senate

Today, the Alabama Senate adjourned for spring recess with both Senate Bill 14 and Senate Bill 304 on the third reading calendar.  The Senate will return for session on April 5, 2016.  Consideration on both of these important bills is anticipated shortly after the Senate reconvenes in April.  Over the next two weeks it is important that you contact your state Senator and politely urge him or her to support both SB 14 and SB 304.  Please click the “Take Action” button below to contact your state Senator! 

SB 14 is important legislation that would recognize a law-abiding gun owner’s ability to possess a concealed handgun in a vehicle without first obtaining a government-issued permit.  There are currently 25 states that already allow law-abiding gun owners to carry a loaded handgun in their vehicle for self-defense without government-mandated permitting and taxation.  If an individual can lawfully own and possess a firearm, they should not have restrictions placed on their ability to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense outside of their home and in their vehicle. 

Alabama currently has some of the most restrictive laws in the nation when it comes to transporting a handgun in a vehicle.  In order to lawfully possess a handgun in a vehicle, the handgun must: (1) be in the possession of an individual who has a valid concealed weapon license (CWL); or (2)  be unloaded and placed in a “locked compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the vehicle and out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.”

SB 304 seeks to solve the significant disparity in concealed weapon license (CWL) fees between counties.  SB 304 will accomplish this fix by allowing law-abiding individuals to apply for a permit in any county in the state. 

Contrary to some claims, SB 304 is not the initial step in a scheme to eliminate the sheriffs' involvement in the CWL process.  It was drafted and introduced in acknowledgement of one simple truth: citizens of Alabama should not be held to disparate standards in exchange for the ability to lawfully exercise the same fundamental right.  

A CWL issued in Jefferson County ($7.50 a year) confers the exact same right across the state as a CWL issued in Baldwin County ($25.00 a year).  Yet, over a 5-year period those rights cost approximately $85.00 more in Baldwin County.  The permittee receives no additional benefit for this more expensive permit.  As a result, the counties that charge excessive fees are simply generating revenue from a small group of law-abiding residents.  The NRA believes that CWL fees should only reflect the actual cost of fulfilling all statutorily mandated responsibilities associated with the permitting process; any financial obligation in excess is a revenue generating tax.  Your fundamental right to self-defense should not be held hostage in exchange for excessive taxes.

This legislation would not change existing background check requirements.  Upon issuance of the CWL, the Sheriff of the county in which the permit is issued would be required to notify the Sheriff of the permittee’s county of residence that a permit has been issued.  Both the Sheriff of the issuing county, and the Sheriff of the county of residence would subsequently have authority to revoke the permit for any valid reason. 

Once again, please click the “Take Action” button above to contact your state Senator in support of these critical pro-gun bills!

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.