A bill that would block enforcement of potential executive orders by the President of the United States against Alabamians’ gun rights passed the Senate on Thursday after a lengthy filibuster by some Senate Democrats.

Senate Bill 2 (SB2) was sponsored by State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa).

According to the synopsis, SB2 would “create the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act; to provide prohibitions on the use of certain public resources and personnel to enforce certain federal actions relating to firearms, accessories, and ammunition”.

The Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement, “This piece of legislation defends Alabamians’ constitutional right to bear arms by ensuring their protection against any unnecessary overreach by the federal government by placing a ban on the use of certain public funds, state agencies and political subdivisions to enforce any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation relating to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition.”

“Any Democrat gun control order poses a serious threat to the Second Amendment rights of the people of Alabama, and it is important that we take steps to prevent this from ever happening in our state,” said Sen. Allen in a statement. “The Second Amendment says the right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon, and this bill is about safeguarding our God-given rights to protect our families and homes. As an elected official, I will do everything in my power to preserve the rights of Alabamians, especially those granted by the Second Amendment, and I will always push back on any proposals that seek to limit the freedoms bestowed upon us. This is a huge victory for the people of Alabama and preserving our Second Amendment rights.”

The Second Amendment Preservation Act has been highly campaigned for by Second Amendment rights groups who have warned of the possibility of a ban on certain types of firearms. A ban on semiautomatic rifles or magazines that hold more than ten bullets are oft-cited examples, as well as rationing of ammunition. Other possibilities that have been discussed include the requirement that every gun owner must carry liability insurance and that gun owners be required to receive mandatory training in how to properly store, maintain and use that weapon, as well as mandatory trigger locks on all stored weapons. None of this has actually happened thus far in the President Joseph R. Biden's (D) administration, but Biden’s public statements on guns and his executive orders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations have many people fearful of an administration that may curtail Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights by executive fiat or by administrative actions by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Two Democratic State Senators vigorously opposed the legislation and began a lengthy filibuster.

Sen. Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) said, “I think this gun bill is totally unconstitutional.

“I know that this bill is going to be challenged in court,” Singleton said. “Here we are again trying to tell the federal government what to do. This is a bad bill. It sets a bad precedent, and we should be careful what we do here.”

Singleton said Alabama had received over $58 billion from the federal government over the last two years in the COVID relief bills. He said we can’t take the money and then turn around and say the federal government can’t tell us what to do. He said it's crazy to say the President of the United States can't issue an executive order to the states and then refuse to allow it to be enforced.

State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) said, “There is nothing that we can say or do in this state that is going to supersede whatever the federal government does, whether we like it or not.”

“I know there are people in here that don’t believe what I am saying,” Smitherman said. “But I am an attorney. I have been legally trained. In addition to that, for 25 years…I taught constitutional law…When you are legally trained you understand that we cannot stand up to the federal government.”

Smitherman said that living in his neighborhood, he sees the damage that guns do, including murders and innocent children being struck down by stray bullets from gunfights.

Smitherman denounced pro-gun Senators as wanting to turn Alabama into the wild west.

“I have no problem with guns, my problem is when we do stuff like this, and you know it is unconstitutional,” Smitherman said. “This is a feel-good bill.

“I am not against the Second Amendment,” Smitherman clarified.

Smitherman spent much of his hour speaking on his opposition to the reallocation of judges and arguing for the hire of twelve more judges for fast-growing counties, like Baldwin and Madison Counties. Smitherman argued that he opposed having to spend money defending against lawsuits brought by passing bills that the legislature knows are going to be challenged in court. Avoiding these kinds of lawsuits would pay for the judges that growing areas in Alabama need.

“Every one of you who needs judges should be standing here with me [opposing SB2],” Smitherman said.

Republicans eventually introduced a cloture motion to cut off the Singleton and Smitherman filibuster. That cloture motion passed and the state Senate voted to pass SB2. It now goes on to the Alabama House of Representatives for their consideration.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed said that passing the Second Amendment Preservation Act was a high priority of the Senate Republican Caucus.

“The Alabama State Senate has made it crystal clear this session that the Second Amendment shall not be infringed upon in our state,” said Reed. “Senator Gerald Allen has been a fearless champion for Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights, and I am honored to stand alongside him and our Senate colleagues in fighting against federal overreach by the Biden Administration. We will always protect Alabamians’ personal liberties, the Constitution and the right to defend our families.”

Tuesday will be day 27 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.

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