Alabama's Gun Bill: What Does It Mean?
Gun laws are a hot topic in Washington, and especially this week in Alabama. State lawmakers are trying to rewrite our gun laws, to clarify how guns can be carried.
Thursday, the Senate passed it's version of the gun bill, and now it's up to the House to debate it's companion bill. But with a number of details and amendments, the bills designed to clear up confusion, are alone confusing.
"I don't think I want to go into Walmart, and I dont think Walmart will let you come in with a gun, but to be standing there in line and granny's got a 45 strapped to her side," David Gentry, owner of Magic Pawn in Prattville, said.
Gentry buys and sells guns every day, but says it's intimidating to know the legislature is trying to rewrite Alabama's gun laws, especially the part abou carrying firearms in public.
"I know that women have them in their purses, and most men carry them in their pockets or have them strapped to their pants or something, but you're not visibly seeing it," Gentry said.
If either the Senate or House bills become law, people without a conceal and carry permit could walk around downtown Montgomery with a holstered in plain sight, and not be arrested for it
Montgomery County Sheriff D.T. Marshall says he is happier with the compromise, but he doesn't understand the call to update the law.
"All these people have in their minds is, 'By God it's my constitutional right,' Well yeah it is, but why can't you carry it concealed?" he said. "Why do you have to show everyone in the world you have a gun?"
The open carry law would extend into businesses, so people could walk in with a pistol, as long as a business does not have a sign banning guns.
"For law abiding citizen that's fine, but this bill also applies to the not so law abiding citizens," Sheriff Marshall said.
The compromise also allows people without a concealed carry permit to have a pistol in their car, as long as the ammunition is separate from the gun and out of reach.
But Gentry feels like it defeats the purpose of having a gun for protection. "If you have a problem, are you going to have the time to put your gun back together, or put bullets in your gun? Most people are not going to give you that kind of time," Gentry said.
Sheriff Marshall expects there to be a lot of questions thrown at Attorney General Luther Strange if the bill passes.
While there are a number of details and revisions, a key one Marshall welcomed is denying the ability to openly carry at a public demonstration. The Senate's passed bill allowed it, but it's been taken out in the House version.
A committee is now working out the differences and it's expected to be debated next week in the House.