“Who’s going to protect you? The police are minutes away when you’ve got seconds.”

The people of Alabama have spoken, and it’s clear they are locked and loaded.

When the COVID pandemic began to impact Alabama in 2020, people across the nation flocked to the store to purchase toilet paper, masks and hand sanitizer. Pharmacies were out of alcohol and peroxide for months due to the panic.

But another concern was looming nationwide, and the people of Alabama responded more swiftly than any other state. The state broke the record for the largest increase in gun sales over the year prior. An estimated 619,000 firearms were sold in Alabama in 2020.

Now, we are seeing another spike in gun sales across the nation and in Alabama.

October 2023 was the third-highest October on record since the FBI began tracking background checks for gun purchases. That number does not include private gun sales but gives an idea of the demand for firearms nationwide.

State Auditor Andrew Sorrell owns gun stores and has been an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment since his days as a State Representative. He remembers the 2020 gun sales surge well.

“That was a good year,” Sorrell told 1819 News. “I remember very well what happened. Kay Ivey shut the state down but we were an essential business because we sold guns. A lot of other businesses were closed and we were open so people came to us. I remember, around the time the state got shut down, we had a line to the door waiting to buy guns.”

Could we soon see another record-breaking spike in gun sales?

Some in Alabama wouldn’t be surprised. After watching videos from Israel of unarmed citizens being slaughtered in their homes by terrorists, people considered what would happen to them if that happened in America.

“People are seeing how the terrorists are parachuting in and going from home to home and brutally executing people and their children and they have no way to defend themselves,” said State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle). “Here in America we have the right to bear arms and a lot of people do have firearms, especially in Alabama. I think that plays a part in people’s safety and security.”

Kale Hollon, who serves on the board of directors for BamaCarry, said firearms are the best way to protect a household.

“If you need to defend yourself or your family, a firearm is a great equalizer against multiple attackers or intruders in your home,” Hollon said. “You can defend yourself and your family with the force necessary, including deadly force.”

In 2006, Alabama adopted a “Stand Your Ground Law,” which allows individuals to use deadly force to defend their household from a perceived threat. The law also provides immunity from civil and criminal actions to anyone who uses deadly force against that perceived threat.

Stringer said when looking at statistics, it is obvious that places with higher gun ownership also have fewer crimes.

“Gun-free zones do nothing but make safer areas for criminals or terrorists to attack and feel safer in what they’re doing,” Stringer added. “I think the Second Amendment is extremely important, I think we’re going to see that more and more throughout the years. We saw when the Russia/Ukraine incident started, Ukraine started passing out assault weapons and ammunition to their citizens and that was kind of a day late and a dollar short. If people are not trained and able to use those weapons safely, they’re no good to them. So, you know I think here in the United States, we’ve got a good balance in what we’re doing.”

Specifically in Alabama, Stringer believes laws to allow citizens to protect themselves are fair.

“We have a Stand Your Ground law, we passed the constitutional carry … Alabama is probably one of the better states with Second Amendment preservation laws and I think we do a lot of that in Alabama to protect that and I will continue to fight for that,” Stringer said. “It’s a big responsibility to own a firearm and everyone should be prepared and trained, including knowing the laws in Alabama.”

Hollon also said it is important to be educated and informed about firearms. That’s why BamaCarry helps connect citizens to the resources they need when becoming first-time gun owners. He said citizens need to be prepared to defend themselves.

“Who’s going to protect you?” he said. “The police are minutes away when you’ve got seconds …It seems like common sense that you would want the most effective method to defend yourself and your property. I mean, throughout history, people have recognized the need for self-defense. I think our founders rightly recognized it then and included it in the Bill of Rights as the Second Amendment. It was very important to them and I think it’s still important today that we protect our rights, be aware of what they are and defend them, because there are a lot of people who want to take away our rights.”

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

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