AL Backs Down on Rest Stop Gun-Free Zones

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We’ve had a lot of worthy posts so far in our summer content contest (there’s still time…get yours in!). One notable entry was Andrew Smith’s account of his attempts to get answers from Alabama’s powers that be regarding their designation of the state’s highway rest stops as “gun-free zones,” apparently in contravention of the Yellowhammer State’s preemption law. Well whaddaya know . . .

As yellowhammernews.com reported yesterday,

Governor Robert Bentley announced Friday afternoon that he ordered all “no weapons allowed” signs removed from Alabama’s rest areas after readers of Yellowhammer News contacted the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) this week asking the agency to justify their policy.

The Alabama Department of Transportation had engaged in some elaborate legal contortions to justify its gun ban.

ALDOT cited a provision of the Alabama Code that gives the agency the power to “prescribe any reasonable rules and regulations so as to prevent unnecessary trespassing upon or injury to any of the public roads, bridges, or highways of the state upon which state money may be expended or appropriated or upon any part of the right-of-way of any of the public roads or highways in the state upon which state money may be expended or appropriated.”

In their own administrative rule, ALDOT created a regulation which reads, “No person other than a duly authorized law enforcement officer shall enter any Alabama Department of Transportation building with a firearm…without the written permission of the Director.”

But that gun-free zone designation apparently became more of a liability than an asset, politically speaking. Hence the governor’s order yesterday mandating that ALDOT “comply with state law.” What a concept.

Did the about face have anything to do with Andrew’s post or was the whole thing just a happy coinky-dink?

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You make the call.

 

comments

  1. avatar Gene says:

    it’s so nice and refreshing when government actually follows the law.

  2. avatar JoshinGA says:

    You mean we have to follow state law? That’s just really inconvenient – ALDOT probably

  3. avatar GRDrane says:

    Bravo Sir! I hope your article did have something to do with it! I hope we as civilians still have some power. This gave me an ounce of hope.

  4. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Well done. The pen gets it done.

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      He probably used his phone, too, along with his pen.

  5. avatar Model 31 says:

    I’d like to see federal and state constitutional amendments requiring that each rule and regulation created by federal and state bureaucracies be voted up/down by the respective federal/state legislative body and signed into law or vetoed by the respective federal/state chief executive. Furthermore, if the rule/regulation is not passed by the feds/state government within a reasonable amount of time (something like 90 days), the bureaucracy is prohibited from enforcing said rules/regulations, and is prohibited from levying fines or imposing punishments against citizens for violations of the defunct regulations.
    It might be easier to pass the amendment at the federal level and write it as to apply to the states. Then we can have John Roberts say that “states” means federal government too.

  6. Good for the Governor. He knows how to count. He is also keeping his campaign promises from 2010:

    I will defend Alabama’s sovereignty from federal encroachment, consistent with the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution.
    I will protect each Alabamian’s right to legally purchase, own, carry and use firearms.
    I will ensure the state government does not hinder city and county government operations.
    The Second Amendment clearly grants every American the right to own firearms. As Governor I will protect each Alabamian’s right to legally purchase, own, carry, and use firearms.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Governor/Robert_Bentley_Gun_Control.htm

    1. avatar Pieslapper says:

      I’m sure Bentley wasn’t so much concerned about observing our state laws or protecting our 2nd amendment rights, much like he said about the Confederate flag issue:

      “I can’t be distracted by this, I’ve got taxes to raise!”

  7. avatar Clay says:

    The title, “Al backs down on Rest Stop Gun-Free Zones” is incorrect. It would appear that the Governor of that Great State actually read the riot act to some out of control, no good, scumbag bureaucrats who were trying to proceed with the revolution when they thought nobody was looking.

    Clay

    1. avatar Galtha58 says:

      @Clay: I was thinking the same thing. Should probably read something like: “Alabama DOT Bureaucrat Gets Put in His Place by Governor Bentley No Gun Signs Being Taken Down at Rest Stops” . Well done Governor. Thanks for taking your underling to task and let him know who is really the boss in your state. Though he should probably be fired for insubordination for doing what he did without your permission. Some people get way too full of themselves and their power trip when they move into a leadership position. That seems to be the case with the Head of the DOT. Wish I could remember his name. Hope this will be a lesson to others in leadership positions that think they can bend the law to fit their own personal views.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        “put in his place”?

        That would be a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere. If not a concrete box with bars on the front of it.

      2. avatar B says:

        Is ALDOT head an elected position? One of the biggest dangers to our freedoms are these giant un-elected bureaucracies writing laws. ALDOT, IRS, and the ATF should have no say whatsoever in how they carry out laws, that should come from people that can theoretically be held accountable. Until the legislature can reign in these people we are all at risk from rogue bureaucrats.

    2. avatar Galtha58 says:

      Perhaps the cost to the State of Alabama to have those signs made and the labor and materials to hang them should be taken out of the Head of DOT’s salary ? He, and others, might think twice before pulling a stunt like this again if that was done.

  8. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    What about the piss-ant lawyer who tried to justify the admin rule?? He needs to be unemployed

  9. avatar MarkPA says:

    Hmmmm.
    – ALDOT
    – gun-free military bases and recruiting centers
    – Constitutional Carry
    – OC of handguns in TX
    – Campus Carry
    Could it possibly be that we have our politicians started on a run? Can they no longer simply deny that PotG exist?

    If this is our time then we had better strike. Call your Congressman and Senators. Tell them that National Reciprocity must PASS in this Congress with a veto-proof majority or in a must-pass bill that passes.

    It will NOT be sufficient to vote for the National Reciprocity bill. Not even co-sponsor the bill will suffice. If it does NOT pass we will vote for the candidate of the opposite party.

    Dare to defy us!

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunniess says:

      If like to see national cc in a trade authority bill or some other shit Obama HAS to sign.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        I recall hearing that National Reciprocity would most likely be added to a “must-pass” bill such as a budget bill. That vehicle is likely the only shot we have in the next 18 months because Obama would surely veto any stand-alone bill or any other vehicle that was a bill he could veto.

        My real concern is with the Republican leadership in each chamber. These two guys have the power to see to it that National Reciprocity is attached to the right must-pass bill; they also have the power to make sure it doesn’t make it by 1 vote in one or the other chamber.

        The way Congress has become organized, it is no longer responsive to the People in any way at all. A majority of members in each chamber have little influence over what passes vs. what is killed. A majority of the members of the majority caucus in each chamber have no more influence over their leadership.

        The leadership – a small group dominated by the Speaker of the House / Senate majority leader – essentially calls the shots. The “whip” in the leadership group whips the members of the majority caucus to vote as-ordered. Any member who votes against orders without adequate excuse is punished in his committee assignments.

        E.g., suppose you are a freshman member of the House of Representatives. You might be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee where you will be a junior committeeman. While the Senate Judiciary Committee controls judges’ ratification, the House Judiciary Committees great claim to power is to prepare Impeachments. On this House committee you are condemned to having no influence over any legislation that might benefit your constituents. So, if you want to get-along with adequate committee appointments you go-along by voting as you are whipped.

        We need to find ways to overcome this system.

        It occurs to me that one way to do this is to threaten our Republican Senators and Representatives that if National Reciprocity does not pass into law in this Congress then we will hold him personally accountable. We will vote for any opponent in his next primary election and – failing that – vote for his Democrat opponent. A GREATER of 2 EVILS threat.

        Such a threat should put a lot of pressure on the Republican leadership in each chamber. The leadership enjoys power only IF it can maintain a majority of the seats in that chamber for its party. The loss of just a few Republican Senators will cost McConnel his Majority Leadership power. Loss of enough Republican Representatives will cost Boehner his Speakership.

        Let’s assume that McConnel and Boehner are bought-and-paid-for by Bloomberg, just to illustrate a scenario. They will be obliged to tell their master that they can’t deliver on their undertaking to kill National Reciprocity. The stakes are too high. If National Reciprocity doesn’t pass they will loose too many marginal races where just a couple percentage points of the vote going to the Democrat candidate will tip the balance.

        Politics comes first. No doubt McConnel and Boehner and most of the rest of Congress have sold their votes to far too many contributors to satisfy them all. Some contributors must be left disappointed notwithstanding that they paid installments in advance. Pulling money from government programs that contributors are depending upon is just bad business. Pulling a vote on a non-money issue such as National Reciprocity (or guns on military bases or an assault weapons ban or UBC) may disappoint some political contributor; but it doesn’t affect anyone’s PROFITS.

        We can’t expect to have much success in advancing/stopping some pork-barrel spending measure that competes with all other pork-barrel measure. These are all horse-traded as the coin-of-the-realm of Congress. But gun issues are NOT PORK-BARREL issues that compete head-on with other spending decisions. Our task should be easier here.

        1. avatar bob says:

          Cthulu 2016! Why settle for the lesser evil?

  10. avatar FedUp says:

    At least he seems to be admitting that the bureaucrats in his administration violated the law.
    I would have figured that he’d simply force a policy change before the AG could make a determination as to the legality of the former policy.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    John Cooper, the Director of ALDOT, is a typical, arrogant Fudd. I’m so happy that Alabama’s governor bitch-slapped him. Hats off to Andrew Smith for forcing the issue and shining the light of truth on Cooper’s cynical usurpation of power.

  12. avatar rlc2 says:

    Check this out- another example of the power of the people-

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/211294/

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I voted.

      It’s now 91 percent *Yes*.

      *snicker*

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Technically, there are two “yes” answers. The stronger, “yes, the Second Amendment guarantees it” has 91% of the vote right now. The weaker “only in self defense” has 4%.

        Of course, this being an online poll, all this means is this poll got passed around the community and we attacked it with a vengeance.

        1. avatar SteveInCO says:

          So, since they didn’t get the answer they were looking for, they can freely ignore it. After all, it’s meaningless, an unscientific poll.

          Should we ever fail to attack polls like this and they get an answer more to their liking, you can bet Dragunovs to dog turds that they’ll forget about the unscientific part and trumpet the poll everywhere.

      2. avatar Diamondback says:

        It’s at 92% as of a moment ago!

        Bwahahahahahahahaha.

  13. avatar Drew in GA says:

    I actually did use the phrase, “pen and phone” in the rough draft of my contest entry, but I eventually edited out. When I talked with Director Cooper on the phone, he said something to the effect about his opinion of the law and that the Governor agreed with him, which I inferred to mean that the Governor backed ALDOT at that time. I was given Director Cooper’s number by the Governor’s office after I sent him an email; the reply was pretty non-committal and it basically said John Cooper could address my concerns.

  14. More like the AL gov lays a smack down on a rogue agency.

    Nice win.

  15. avatar gsnyder says:

    I don’t see a political decision, seems like they viewed and recognized the overstep by DOT. I always hope our comments on TTAG are of influence in some way.

  16. avatar Cg123 says:

    Great, now let’s get them to remove the illegal carry prohibition signs in Clanton, AL

  17. avatar James69 says:

    Yeah!!!!

  18. We got back home to Tennessee from Central Alabama, a little over two hours ago. DID NOT stop at the rest stops, coming or going. After reading the article and comments last week, decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Glad that the governor corrected the situation. Tennbud

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Hmmmm. There is the seed of an idea here.

      There are several web sites that publish and maintain “carry maps” of the States. We PotG consult these maps regularly for trip planning involving inter-state travel.

      Now, suppose someone compiles 1+ maps that detail more about the carry-laws of these 50 States. E.g., such as Rest-Stop Carry laws/policies, as with the ALDOT signage. Clearly, no one such map will influence a State’s governor or legislature. Yet, a collection of such maps might have an impact.

      Now, suppose we have a collection of maps covering such things as Rest-Stops; Restaurant-Carry; proprietary Signs (have/lack the force-of-law); Open Carry; Relaxed/Constrained reciprocity-recognition policies. Upon such a foundation we can build a map of an “Index-of-Carry-Friendliness”.

      We deliver such a suite of maps for inclusion on the various Carry websites. Then, we have allied interests (e.g., truck-stops, tourism businesses, etc.) bring these maps to the attention of their political contacts. Bear in mind that politicians don’t care at all about tourism; they care about campaign contributions. If the tourism-business-interests regard such maps as a marginal threat to profits then they will apply pressure to their politicians.

      Also bear in mind that carry laws are purely a POLITICAL interest but not a PORK interest. It’s a tough sell to get politicians to divert financial resources from pet constituencies to a new contender. It’s a much easier sell to get them to change a law that has no financial impact whatsoever.

      How many Antis will rise-up and march to restore GFZs in Alabama State rest-stops? All an Alabama politician has to say is “the State’s tourism business constituency tells us that this is hurting our State” and the small level of opposition is overcome.

      Suppose we ask a legislature to remove the force-of-law from a proprietary GFZ sign. Again, the Antis will complain. The politicians can simply respond “our constituents in the business community tell us that it’s sufficient to prescribe a sign without the force-of-law. If we don’t like someone carrying in our stores we will politely ask them to leave; if they don’t, the police will escort them out. We don’t need to offend gun-owning customers who may-or-may-not be carrying at the time they are about to patronize our stores”.

  19. avatar anaxis says:

    I called my state rep’s office about it after reading the article here. The answer I got was that he was unaware of ALDOT’s no-gun policy, and they would work to do something about it.
    Maybe I should start buying lottery tickets now….. :rolleyes:

  20. avatar Diamondback says:

    We the People must step up and enforce our protected rights if we expect to keep them.

    Like G. Bush said, “The Constitution is just a fkn piece of paper.”

    That’s why all federal and state officers/judges etc. MUST execute an oath of fidelity to the US Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land too.

    “… our Lives, our FORTUNES and our sacred Honor.” [emphasis mine]

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