MONTGOMERY — On Thursday, the Alabama Legislature approved a bill requiring additional reporting from judges to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's (ALEA) "firearms prohibited persons" database for persons involuntarily committed to inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Senate Bill 158 (SB158) by State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) would add additional requirements on probate judges to report individuals committed to inpatient and outpatient treatment centers to ALEA. It would also add the reporting requirement to circuit judges.
The bill was previously approved in the Senate but passed the House with an amendment on Thursday. The Senate concurred with the amendment later that day.
State Rep. Russel Bedsole (R-Alabaster) presented the bill in the House, saying it was vital to promoting safety for law enforcement.
State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough expressed concern with the bill, saying it was similar to a "red flag law" and may be used to strip citizens of their gun rights.
"I'm not a big fan of red flag laws, and so I was just concerned in reading this," Yarbrough said. "I just have some uncertainty still, but I think I understand what you're trying to do."
State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) spoke in favor of the legislation.
"People get a little nervous when they hear the word database, but sometimes they serve a purpose other than keeping up with names," England said. "And, I can't think of any information that's more important to someone on a traffic stop for example, than to have some idea that this person has been committed in the past and may be dangerous. As a matter of fact, I don't know how you could be against something like that."
The bill passed the House with a vote of 86-15 with one abstention. The Senate agreed to concur, sending the bill to Gov. Kay Ivey's desk for her signature.
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