It appears that some bureaucrat in the Yellowhammer State has decided to post the state’s rest stops with signs that are toxic to the Second Amendment, not to mention Alabama law. The signs say “No weapons beyond this point.” According to Skidmark at opencarry.org, rest stops aren’t on the state’s list of prohibited places for possessing weapons. Alabama’s pre-emption law was strengthened in 2013 as part of a package of Second Amendment friendly reforms . . .

It’s the AL rest stop eastbound I-10 @ AL/ MS line, about 15 miles west of Mobile.

 

Arizona, now known as one of the states most respectful of the RKBA had a similar problem with illegal signage at rest stops in the 1990’s. It took activism by Arizona gun owners to have them removed. An open carry picnic at the Sacaton rest stop on I-10 near Tucson was organized in 1998. Rick Destephens, who was there, writes about it:

Have you noticed that there are no longer any signs at Arizona rest stops that read, “Keep all weapons in your vehicle”? That was Brassroots and S.A.F.E. combine effort back in 1998. We staged a forty-man protest at the Sacaton rest stop and five TV cameras showed up. We then got three hours of time on Bob Mohan’s show on KFYI. That resulted in Hull’s, ADOT’s and DPS’s phones melting down for two weeks. The signs came down later that month.

The picture below is reported to have been on the rest stop east of Opelika off I-85.

Alabama law specifically forbids the “Possession of firearms by persons participating in, attending, etc., demonstrations at public places.” So am Arizona-style picnic at an Alabama rest stop would have to be careful not to fall under this statute, or be prepared to test the law in court.

I sent an email to aldotinfo@dot.state.al.us on January 9th, 2014,  Here are the questions that I asked:

1. Were the signs put up recently?

2. Were the signs authorized, and if so, by who or what agency?

3. What legal authority exists for putting up the signs?

I haven’t received a reply from the Alabama Department of Transportation yet. Perhaps residents of Alabama would have better luck. If you obtain answers to the above questions, please let us know in the comments.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

Update: Opencarry.org is reporting that the rest stops in Alabama are under control of the ALDPS :
From what I understand the signs at rest stops were put up by the ALDPS.
AGR is working on this and a number of other places that have put up signs.

56 Responses to Illegal “No Weapons” Signs in Alabama Rest Stops

  1. A similar issue here in SC. There are signs at the beginning of the driveway onto school property that state “No Concealable Weapons Allowed”.

    However, state law says if you have a CWP your weapon can remain with you in you vehicle on school grounds, and even left secured in the vehicle if your going into the school. The sign posted at the beginning of the property is misleading and not in accordance with the law.

    • Then those signs do not carry the force of law, and you are not under any obligation whatsoever to obey them. Further, any arrest that may come about as a result of disobeying the sign is a false arrest and certainly grounds for a lawsuit against the arresting officer, his or her department, the city, and whatever agency that put the signs up.

    • Here in California, there are specific places you are and are not allowed to carry firearms. Private businesses and residences can ask you to leave if they see you are concealed carrying(they shouldn’t be seeing it in the first place) but outside of those specific places, or if your issuing authority has determined you must abide by signs(which may be an illegal requirement as it’s dependent on country, not a state law) signs hold NO WEIGHT in law.

      So if that store has a no weapons sign on it, they can’t do shit except ask you to leave if you’re carrying a weapon. You cannot be charged with anything unless you refuse to leave, and then it will be criminal trespass.

      • So here’s the hitch in the “They can only ask you to leave” provision that everyone needs to be VERY aware of, regardless of local or state laws:

        People who post these signs are chickenshits and even if they see or just suspect that you are carrying a concealed weapon there is NO WAY they have the balls to just walk up and ask you to leave since they are obviously certain that you will just shoot them and everyone else in the place.

        What they WILL do is call a cop and have them show up to confront you, after which it’s a crapshoot if you get a good cop or a jackboot thug who wants to make some kind of point at your expense.

        Here in Washington I generally ignore the signs since they have no weight of law, but I always maintain concealment and situational awareness because not every cop is our friend, especially in urban areas like Tacoma and Seattle.

    • My CWP instructor in SC showed us SC law that specifically states how firearm prohibition signs are to be constructed, worded, and displayed. It’s amazing how many signs I see that are not compliant. He further said that that part of the law has not been tested in court, so there’s question as to just how enforceable or not it really is. I don’t really want to be the test case.

      • Sign standards on this subject are pretty clear. I have only seen ONE sign in my ten years here that meets the requirements to carry the force of law and that sign is posted on the fence of power station.

        The sign standard has yet to be tested in court because it’s clearly written. It leaves nothing to interpret so there is no need for a court to weigh in.

        • Only one i have seen properly displayed is at the SC State bank on rivers ave in north charleston

      • Let me say this about that – laws that are extremely specific tend to be treated as gospel by the defense and most judges, if we ignore for the moment that the Second Amendment is EXCEPTIONALLY specific and its prohibition against infringement is routinely ignored.

        I recall an incident in California back in the ’80s where a county motorcycle officer wrote a speeding ticket. The biker beat the ticket (it was thrown out of court) because California state law had precedence and specifically that law enforcement vehicles used for traffic enforcement MUST BE black and white in color. The defense successfully argued that the county logo on the side of the motorcycle’s fuel tank contained a significant amount of blue representing the Pacific ocean ad that the bike was therefore not legal for traffic enforcement in the state of California.

        In the case of firearm laws (especially in California) I would not cunt on the courts being that precise in their rulings. I suspect they would very much want to go with intent rather than letter of the law, if they thought they could get away with it or that you would run out of resources before you could appeal.

      • Let me say this about that – laws that are extremely specific tend to be treated as gospel by the defense and most judges, if we ignore for the moment that the Second Amendment is EXCEPTIONALLY specific and its prohibition against infringement is routinely ignored.

        I recall an incident in California back in the ’80s where a county motorcycle officer wrote a speeding ticket. The biker beat the ticket (it was thrown out of court) because California state law had precedence and stated specifically that law enforcement vehicles used for traffic enforcement MUST BE black and white in color. The defense successfully argued that the county logo on the side of the motorcycle’s fuel tank contained a significant amount of blue representing the Pacific ocean and that the bike was therefore not legal for traffic enforcement in the state of California.

        In the case of firearm laws (especially in California) I would not count on the courts being that precise in their rulings. I suspect they would very much want to go with intent rather than letter of the law, if they thought they could get away with it or that you would run out of resources before you could appeal.

  2. Almost completely unrelated, but Lansing MI has an illegal preempted ordnance banning ammunition dispensing vending machines…funny I know, I’ve been dabbling at them on and off to repeal it

  3. I have made an inquiry as well. I am a resident of Alabama, I’ll let you know. As a side note, my local Sheriff has told me to ignore the signs!

  4. “No weapons beyond this point.”

    What does that mean?

    From Merriam-Webster:

    1weap·on
    noun ˈwe-pən

    : something (such as a gun, knife, club, or bomb) that is used for fighting or attacking someone or for defending yourself when someone is attacking you

    : something (such as a skill, idea, or tool) that is used to win a contest or achieve something

    So if you walk up with a bat you break the law? Better not have an idea either! People that come up with these things have a 2-digit IQ.

  5. Well Im a Dem and I would never condone some idiot fed/state weenie spending tax dollars on a sign thats BS and is only there because they have a personal problem with something that’s out of their control and can find no other way to cope with that insecurity.

    P.S.
    Sorry, but I’d never vote for somebody that thinks that collective bargaining is fascism, compromise is something losers do, it’s everybodys’ business what I do in my bedroom, and charity is for commies (or jesus).
    Oh, and I’ve got more guns than all the Republicans I know. 😀

    • I really don’t understand being a Democrat and a gun enthusiast. I mean no offense in saying that, I’m merely noting that the majority of those who despise firearms and the 2A (Feinstein / Obama / Kerry / DeLeon / Bloomberg / etc.) tend to be Democrats. Hating guns is a part of the party platform. I’m not saying Republicans are perfect, but its a whole lot easier to carry a real gun with a standard capacity mag in a red state than a blue state.

      • Often people have more in their lives than guns alone. Also in some states dems aren’t bad on guns because they know it’s an off-limits topic.

      • Because due to the most vocal groups in Christianity (Westboro Baptist Church), ALL Christians are homophobic, bigoted, fearmongers who’d like to see us returned to a more misanthropic time.

        Right?

        Oh wait…

        • I never said that. I did say that the Democratic Party tends to suck in regards to their support for the 2A.

    • “Well Im a Dem and I would never condone some idiot fed/state weenie spending tax dollars on a sign thats BS and is only there because they have a personal problem with something that’s out of their control and can find no other way to cope with that insecurity.” And because Dems got a whole lot of other stuff they are willing to waste our tax money on anyways.

      “Sorry, but I’d never vote for somebody that thinks that collective bargaining is fascism, compromise is something losers do, it’s everybodys’ business what I do in my bedroom, and charity is for commies (or jesus).”

      1. Collective bargaining is not Fascism, it’s extortion, pure and simple.
      2. Compromise is something you do when you cannot win and would therefore lose everything anyway, but to compromise you have to have started the negotiation asking for more than you actually wanted in the first place, or at the very least not have the courage of your convictions. Compromise on economic issues is negotiation, compromise on moral or ethical issues is capitulation.
      3. There are moral and religious extremists who MAY care what you do (if anything) in your bedroom, and with whom (or what), but you obviously want to pretend that EVERYONE who is not a Dem like you gives a shit who you screw, or how. If you’re “gay” your mutual masturbation techniques have zero interest for the majority of us.
      4. Charity is the voluntary donation of money, goods or services to persons or causes you want to support and/or help. “Commies” and other leftists confiscate our money through taxes we cannot resist and then distribute it as THEY see fit, regardless of our objections. This would seem to be the exact opposite of CHARITY. As far as Jesus, contributions to a religious organization of your choice which then distributes a portion of that to charitable causes hardly equates with communism.

      “Oh, and I’ve got more guns than all the Republicans I know.” – And the Nazis owned more guns than all the Jews they new. Hardly an argument to make sane people sleep well at night.

      This situation is also undoubtedly because no Republican, based on your ranting above, would care to be acquainted with you, or admit to you that they owned any specific type or quantity of guns. I sure as Hell wouldn’t and after about 5 minutes talking with you I would probably be fabricating any excuse I could to get out of the room and away from your delusions.

      You really need to get over yourself, Phil, you ain’t a quarter as smart as you thinks you is.

      • Sounds like your nether regions hurt. 🙂

        Oh it takes more than a rant worthy of FOX news to get rid of me, Jerry. No worries man.

        • Damn, the Fox news references are so boring. Please come up with something else, it does get tiresome.

      • Oops, almost forgot, I just said Dem and all of a sudden I’m gay, more liberal than a confused Californian, and I guess I’m bending over my employer because I’ve “negotiated” a fair wage.
        Democrats are just like Republicans, they come in all types, but that adrenaline fueled rant is why I’m a Dem, and my father is no longer a Republican. We both gave up on the party that used to be for moderates.

        Either way, I still think you got a pretty mouth. 😉

    • ” it’s everybodys’ business what I do in my bedroom” – Stop telling everybody. You’re here, you’re queer, we’re used to it. Now shut up unless you’ve got something constructive to add.

      And charity at the point of a gun is no charity at all.

    • Would that this were true, Marcus but the bottom line must always be: “Why do they want to own guns?”

      Only when/if a Dem figures out that if the Liberals/Progressives get what they want ALL Second Amendment rights will be forfeit, including theirs, will they come to any epiphany on the subject of political left vs. political right.

      And in the case of true Progressives they are undoubtedly under the delusion that in their Utopian future THEY will retain their weapons so that they can help keep US in line.

      Bottom line, there use of guns has zero to do with true personal liberty.

  6. Dammit, I was hoping to hear who was behind the signs. I mean, it has a look of an arbitrary move, like the people who designed the lobby and had the doors installed said, “you know what would bring this rest area together, Antoine? Some no weapons signs. What say ye?” There’s just something about it that says afterthought.

  7. These signs do not carry force of law. Further, since the land is public property, there is no authority to even request a legal gun owner to leave or face trespassing charges.

    Yes, the signs are technically illegal.

    Yes, you could get arrested by an ignorant police officer.

    Yes, a 10 year old could get the case tossed in court.

    Just don’t be a douche about disregarding the signs and I doubt you will have an issue

  8. Here’s how you end this: Stage a mugging in some bathroom. You’ll have to bang your head a little so there some blood. Nothing dramatic just some blood for effect. Then tell the police how you left your Springfiels XD 9mm in the car when you went to use the can because of the sign. Then hire yourself a nice ambulance chasing lawyer who’d like to make about 10 million dollars. Then file a suit against whatever agency hung that sign. Sue the state. Sue the guy who screwed in the sign. Sue the security company that was scratching their ass on the other end of the dark 2 acre parking area and wait about a month for the settlement offers to start pouring in. Personally I’d go to trial but if you just want a quick 2-3 million you can settle. Tell them you forget everything now, were severally traumatized, and lost vision in one eye. Make it good! Be careful of surveillance cameras. If there are any just have a buddy act the part of the mugger. Simple! Easy money.

  9. someone had to pay for it so there is a budget authorization or expenditure

    someone had to install them so there is a contract or time card

    someone has to maintain them so there is an appropriation or delegation of authority

    the real question is finding who and that is why God made FOIA! the local gun rights group needs to start flooding the DPW office with requests. the pain of compliance alone will bring the signs down

    then someone needs to contact their local (sympathetic) state politician who sits on any committee with authority over DPW and subpoena power. Make it a scandal. Get the bureaucrats involved to point fingers and narc on their bosses and take it up the chain. this is an election year. precious $$$ spent on illegal signs. waste of time for state workers. personal vendettas. liberals run amok over irrational fear of guns. yes, make it count.

  10. Hmmm.

    Checking my inventory… Two pistols. A .22LR rifle. An AR-15. A bolt-action.308. A 12-gauge shotgun.

    Plenty of guns. A couple of them are even ‘firearms.’

    But no weapons.

  11. The crappy part about signs like this, and other signs which do not carry the force of law but are very clear in their intent, is not how it affects knowledgeable people. There are lot of well meaning people who don’t have the time or intellectual capacity to grasp every nuance of the law, or are willing to risk an encounter with law enforcement and hold their own. So those people, believing the sign to be enforceable, will disarm themselves when they shouldn’t. It is for those individuals that we should be vigilant and unforgiving in attacking such signs and those who put them in place, against the law.

  12. Not far west from that Alabama Welcome Center on I-10, the Mississippi Welcome Center on I-10 near the Louisiana border had paper signs on each door to the center and restroom entrances that said basically the same thing. “No weapons allowed on this property” with the image of a pistol and a knife in the ubiquitous red circle with a slash.

    I felt unwelcome at the “Welcome” center.

  13. As of July 3rd, 2015, ALDOT is still threatening to prosecute anyone carrying a firearm in rest stop buildings.

    Perhaps BamaCarry can get involved and get them straightened out.

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