A bill proposing criminal penalties for failing to inform an officer if you carry a concealed weapon fails in House Committee.

House Bill 12 (HB12) by State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), which sought to amend a provision in last year’s permitless carry laws, was voted down in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday.

In 2022, House Bill 272 (HB272) by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R–Citronelle) became the spearhead bill for permitless carry that passed the legislature. It was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in March 2022 and went into effect on January 1.

The 2022 law created an obligation for a citizen to inform a law enforcement officer of the presence of a firearm on their person or in their vehicle only when asked, often called a "duty to declare." However, the bill did not provide any penalties for lying to an officer or refusing to declare.

According to England, since there is no criminal penalty, officers cannot charge someone who fails to abide by the “duty to declare” provision.

“We’ve got very recent Alabama Supreme Court precedent that we attempted to repair with the permitless carry bill last year,” England said. Because there was a criminal code in there without a penalty, and the Supreme Court said, if it doesn’t have a penalty, it's not enforceable.”

Some controversy arose in the committee when the chairman called for a vote. Those in favor signaled by saying “aye,” and those opposed voted “no” in unison.

The vote sounded close, but an accurate count was difficult since all members voted in unison.

After the vote, chairman Alana Treadaway (R-Morris) declared, “The no’s have it,” leading State Rep. TaShina Morris (D-Montogmery) to repeat Treadaway’s statement with an incredulous tone.

One Democratic member called for a roll call vote, which would require each member to vote individually.

Treadaway shot down the roll call vote since a request for a roll call vote must be made before the vote is conducted.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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