House Bill 123 (HB123), sponsored by State Rep. Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile), holds parents and guardians criminally liable if their child brings a gun from home to school if the firearm is not "reasonably secure." The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday with an amendment changing the penalty from a Class C felony charge to a Class A misdemeanor.
State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) asked Drummond why the law couldn't be limited to instances where the firearm was actually used, saying he did not what to create "unintended victims."
"You know, I thought about that, but you have to ask yourself if and when — and I think it's when — given all of what is happening, and please know this bill was filed long before Nashville and the shooting there," Drummond responded. "So, I think that we need to do everything that we can to protect not only our children but also the campuses and those faculty members and everybody that comes in contact on a school campus."
State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) spoke in support of the bill, saying the state already has similar laws on the books punishing parents for contributing delinquency or truancy.
"We charge parents with the responsibility of their children all the time, so I Don't see why there should be any hesitancy in adopting the same responsibility that we do for dependency or delinquency for making sure that they're responsible gun owners," he said.
The bill passed with a vote of 8-3. The only "no" votes came from Stringer and State Reps. Tim Wadsworth (R-Arley) and David Standridge (R-Hayden). State Reps. Prince Chestnut (D-Selma) and Ben Robbins (R-Sylacauga) abstained from voting.
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