The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up controversial gun bills on Wednesday. The bills would allow Alabamians to carry their handguns with them concealed and in their automobiles without purchasing a concealed carry permit from their local sheriff.
Senate Bill 1 is sponsored by State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa).
SB1 “would repeal certain restrictions on the carrying or possession of a firearm on a certain property or in a motor vehicle by persons with or without a concealed pistol permit.”
SB1 repeals a number of Alabama code sections limiting the possession of firearms under Alabama law. SB1 would grant all Alabamians, whether they have a concealed carry permit or not, the right to carry their firearm with them concealed virtually anywhere not already banned by federal law. Permitless or “constitutional carry” has been the holy grail of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-Second Amendment groups for years.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is also considering SB12 by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence). SB12 also repeals most of the limits on the carrying of handguns. It also would "revise the presumption that a person carrying a pistol without a pistol permit is prima facie evidence of intent to commit a crime of violence.”
Constitutional carry has passed the conservative Alabama State Senate at least three times.
Where it typically runs into a buzzsaw of opposition is in the Alabama House of Representatives.
Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) spoke to reporters about the status of the House Constitutional carry bill (HB66) sponsored by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Satsuma).
“We are preparing a substitute to that bill,” McCutcheon told reporters.
“The sponsor, as well as other members with law enforcement experience, are working on a substitute for HB66,” McCutcheon said.
Dozens of Sheriffs and sheriff’s deputies were in the State House on Tuesday lobbying legislators against the bill.
“There will be a public hearing,” McCutcheon said. “I have talked with some of the officials and all of them have a different approach. Some of the opinions are based on the original House bill, HB66. This bill will have some changes from the original House Bill 66.”
A source told 1819 News that if a compromise bill is passed by the House, the Senate will reluctantly go along with the compromise language in the House bill in order to get some Second Amendment legislation passed in this session.
A key sticking point is reportedly coming from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). The corporate lobbying group strongly opposes a provision that would bar businesses from being able to ban firearms on their premises.
Moms Demand Action, AL is lobbying legislators against constitutional carry.
“Alabama lawmakers are considering a permitless carry bill that would weaken our gun laws and threaten public safety by allowing people to carry loaded handguns in public without a permit or a criminal background check,” the group wrote on its Facebook page on Saturday. “Tell key Alabama lawmakers NOT to weaken our gun laws!”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet in Room 325 of the Alabama Statehouse at 8:30 a.m. Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Wednesday will be day five of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. The Legislature is limited to no more than 30 days in a regular session and a regular session cannot last more than 120 calendar days.
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