As a general rule, when expanding civilian gun rights is on the table, you can count on chiefs of police to oppose any pending bill and sheriffs to support it. The chiefs are usually beholden to the mayors and city councils who hired them while sheriffs are usually elected directly by constituents. But as with all rules, there are exceptions. Case in point: Alabama’s SB24.

The pending bill would remove most restrictions on Yellow Hammer State residents, allowing them to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The state already allows permitless open carry.

If passed and signed, SB24 would make Alabama the 13th constitutional carry state. But that will have to happen over the determined opposition of Bobby Timmons (above), the head honcho of the Alabama Sheriffs Association.

Timmons has made it clear he’s no fan of the NRA’s advocacy for the bill.

“SB24 is not a 2nd Amendment bill and NRA should have kept their nose out of it,” wrote Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Bobby Timmons in an email to members in March. “I am a lifetime Golden Eagle NRA Member and I resent the past President’s involvement in legislation that is none of their business.” …

Timmons took exception that Jim Porter, former National President of the NRA, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale testified in the Alabama Senate that “a citizen should not have to pay for his/her constitutional right to bear arms.”

But it doesn’t appear that it’s the outside agitation or concern for the safety of the state’s sheriffs and deputies that has Bobby all hot and bothered…it’s cold hard cash. Or the prospect of losing it. Al.com got its hands on an internal email Timmons sent to his members to rally the opposition to permitless concealed carry.

As columnist Cameron Smith puts it,

If the Sheriffs Association’s opposition was primarily an officer safety issue, the big “push” email didn’t make it a direct focal point at all.

The email strongly suggests that money is the primary driver for the sheriff’s objection to SB24. Counties must adequately fund law enforcement, but pistol permits shouldn’t be the mechanism.

If the Alabama Sheriff’s Association won’t work towards a good faith compromise that ensures a streamlined pistol license that’s the same for all Alabamians, legislators ought to move ahead and join the twelve states that don’t require concealed pistol licenses at all.

Could it be possible that public officials — or their association representatives — are more concerned with keeping revenue flowing than they are upholding and defending the constitutional rights of those they represent? Sure, that’s hart to believe, but you have to consider every possibility, amirite?

We’ve reached out to Mr. Timmons to find out if there’s more motivating him than pure pecuniary interest. We’ll let you know if and when he responds.

55 Responses to Alabama Sheriffs Value Concealed Carry Permit Fees Over Residents’ Constitutional Rights

  1. The honesty is appreciated. He gives us enough credit to not push the “safety” myth and gets right to brass tacks.
    Now sick them Duke boys on the ol’ Boss. I hear Roscoe is sleeping behind the general store.

    • What honesty? The only reason the ‘real’ reason is being revealed is through… you guessed it… a leaked email.

      His public statements are not the same as his private.

  2. The political knowledge of the writers here at TTAG is almost as bad as the MSM. Almost all Sheriff Associations are very anti gun. Not as anti as the police chiefs but almost.

    • “…you can count on chiefs of police to oppose any pending bill and sheriffs to support it.”

      Sheriffs. As individuals. No mention there of their associations.

      • If the majority of sheriffs were pro gun, the associations would be silent or pro gun as well. They’re anti gun.

    • It really depends on where you live. I was in Florida right after the sandy hook crap and there wa’s daily talk of all sorts of anti-gun craziness. The local sheriff not only publicly urged everyone who was eligible to get your CCW permit but he held twould emergency CCW classes free of charge. Then the county set up a standing militia in case they tried to play word games with the constitution. Come in, tell us what name you want on your membership card, no I.d. check, no sign here please just here you go and have a pleasant day.
      In Maine this past election there was a question on the ballot for “universal” background checks. The sheriffs were all on t.v. saying how useless it was and how it was going to make criminals out of law abiding citizens. The police chiefs were all crying how we HAVE to do this…to keep the children safe in other states. We won, but by the skin of our teeth and I’m sure the sheriffs didn’t hurt us.

      • The sheriff in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) is antigun and likes to hold people up for hours when they come to get their CHL, so everyone goes to neighboring Lake County for it. There’s also better ranges outside of Cuyahoga.

        • One of the bills in Alabama (SB330) allows people to go to the sheriff of their choice to get their pistol permit (CCW). Right now, we’re required to use the sheriff of the county in which we reside. Since the sheriffs charge anywhere from $7.50 to $35 per year for the permits, that would create some competition… and call the sheriffs out to see if their opposition to SB24 is actually because of officer safety or their slush fund money. I sent an email to Wally Olson (President of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, and my sheriff) asking him to support SB330. Guess what his reply was… Yeah, I’ll guess, too, because he hasn’t replied. He replied the NEXT DAY to my request that he support SB24… Haven’t heard from him since I replied by shooting holes in every argument he had for the status quo…

        • Media county as well but the wait is like 3 months to get a stupid appointment. Which is from the people who live in cuyahoga county and come here. Damn tourists!

    • I don’t think it’s that simple when it comes to sheriffs, and this case is an example of that. Sheriff Timmons is pro-2A! He’s a ” lifetime Golden Eagle NRA Member.”

      You see, it’s pretty easy to be in favor of gun rights if you get to decide who can exercise those rights. A sheriff with discretion in the permitting process gets to have his 2A cake and eat it, too.

      • I’ve been a Benefactor member for around 10 years, now, haven’t ever heard of a “golden eagle” member, somebody want to enlighten me?

        • I’m a recently-minted, Benefactor at the Patriot level. I wouldn’t be surprised if NRA had a Golden Eagle, Silver Lizard, or Crusty Old Polar Bear level – they market the heck out of the upper level memberships.

          Regarding the topic at hand, though. If the sole reason for infringing on a Constitutional right is to raise revenue via taxing or permitting, that flies clearly in the face of Strict Scrutiny. For infringement to be allowed requires an overriding social benefit, compared to the advantages conferred by the infringed individual right. Right?

        • ” For infringement to be allowed requires an overriding social benefit…”

          Which, according to the appeals court for Chicago, can be as beneficial as people “feeling safer”.

        • The Golden Eagles are an elite group of NRA members dedicated to instilling the love of freedom in our nation’s youth, teaching safe and responsible gun ownership …

        • Strangely enough, I just got the invitation letter for this yesterday.

          All I have to do is pay $200 to activate my special less-than-one-percent-of-members selection, and I get a medal and a certificate and a memento personally selected for this year’s inductees by Wayne himself.

          And the other benefits are, I suppose, warm fuzzies for supporting worthy programs. (No sarcasm there – things like youth training, etc.)

          But as far as I can tell there really are no special benefits or responsibilities. It’s just another donor level or add-on or something.

          Honestly, it’s starting to feel a little like Scientology. Okay, I’m a donor. I donate occasionally. So just come out and ask me already, I don’t need to be made to feel special or move to the next level or anything. At least not for the amounts I’m being asked for.

          Wait until I donate $500k or something, then let Wayne or somebody take me to lunch.

    • You may find it hard to believe, but the Sheriff’s Association in California, as well as a majority of the Sheriffs themselves, are pro-gun. There are of course exceptions, such as San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, as well as the Bay Area sheriffs, but they are a distinct minority. City police chiefs are a different story. Milwaukee’s sheriff is very pro-gun, while the city police chief is very anti gun.

  3. In Texas, a bill to cut our license fee from $140 to $40 passed out of committee yesterday. I’m no fan of carry licenses, but if they are to exist, then they should be as low as possible so as not to constitute even more of an impediment to exercising one’s right.

    If they are to exist, I would not support zero cost licenses, though. Wherever possible, fees for government service should be born primarily by those utilizing that service. If licenses must exist, then licensees should pay for them and the program should only cover its costs.

    • Jonathan,

      Wherever possible, fees for government service should be born primarily by those utilizing that service.

      I agree with your sentiment. The problem is, I am having a hard time thinking of any true service (that actually adds value to society) that government actually provides for anyone.

      I suppose building roads, bridges, and dams are a true value-added service to society. And then I heard rumors that we all have the Apollo moon program to thank for critical technological developments that made hand-held calculators cheap. Beyond that? I got nothing.

      • On the federal level, there is our massive military machine to “provide for the common defence.”

        On the federal, state and local level, there is law enforcement, court systems and prisons. Locally, there is fire protection and ambulance services, and the very complicated 911 phone system to dispatch such “service providers.” This is done to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility… and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

        We have schools, community colleges, state universities. Educating the next generation adds tremendous value to our society. Whether or not we think socialized education produces a quality product is a separate conversation.

        I could go on. I’m a limited government kinda guy, and I think our governments do a whole lot that they shouldn’t. But some of what our governments do is actually important and necessary.

        • Just FYI.

          I don’t know about everywhere, but here at least some of the judiciary is mostly funded by the users.

          When I was still in college, the senior judge for the county courts at law said that the courts made money. I have a hard time believing he included all the salaries/benefits for the court personnel and am pretty sure he didn’t include the costs of the DA’s office. I do believe it. I just have a hard time believing it.

          Convicted criminals are typically charged with court costs and often fines. Civil cases require filing fees.

    • Any licenses for firearms ownership, carry, etc, are not to benefit me in any way, we are told very clearly, over and over. They are necessary for the safety of the snowflakes who do NOT carry. So let’s rethink who should be carrying the tab, shall we? These programs should be supported by a special tax, and proving ownership of a working gun should exempt you from that tax. See how crucial they are as soon as those snowflakes discover they are paying for them, and gun owners are exempt.

    • “If they are to exist, I would not support zero cost licenses, though.”

      So you would be in favor of charging for voter registrations?

      Fees to obtain a permission slip to exercise a guaranteed right are an abomination. If you have to ask permission or pay to exercise in order to carry then they have effectively turned a right into a privilege.

    • Most people in similar positions from his generation use it to intimidate others, to imply that they call all the shots, and do not dare cross him. Most importantly, it sends a signal that he is untouchable. Whether that is what this guy intended, the picture cannot tell us. I suspect yes. Recently, I saw a picture of coworkers from 1913, and there was the boss wearing the requisite cigar. Weird custom.

  4. Not at all unique. North Carolina sheriffs also fought back when faced with the loss of handgun purchase permit revenue.

  5. As a general rule, when expanding civilian gun rights is on the table, you can count on chiefs of police to oppose any pending bill and sheriffs to support it.

    The only thing you can count on is for government to support whatever is good for the ruling class … and oppose anything that is bad for the ruling class.

    Saying it another way, it is ALWAYS about more money for the ruling class. Some laws and policies that are good for the ruling class are also good for the working class and that is why have such laws and policies. Never, ever think that the ruling class enacts laws or policies for the working class because it is the right thing to do.

    • Vhyrus,

      I looked at the hotair.com article that you cited. That article cites a New York Times article and is consistent with the New York Times article. The New York Times article in-turn references an MSNBC Morning Joe interview with Joe Manchin where Manchin discusses universal background checks. I was able to find that Morning Joe interview (Manchin discusses background checks beginning around the 9:35 point in the referenced video). I am not able to confirm whether or not Trump called Manchin after that video. Thus, we have no way of confirming whether or not Trump is “signalling” any willingness to do anything with respect to firearm policy/law.

      For reference here is the link to the MSNBC Morning Joe interview with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on December 15, 2016:
      http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/manchin-i-was-honored-to-meet-with-trump-833733699795

      • That’s why I pegged this as a rumor, but even as a rumor this is pretty horrifying stuff. It is possible that Manchin is trying to smear Trump with a gun control rumor but even a whiff of credibility on this is enough to check it out.

      • Every source you touch on, including Manchin, are well-known anti-gun liars. Manchin, Like Reid, went for years claiming to be pro gun rights, and their votes were letter perfect. For just as long as their votes did not change the outcome. As soon as a vote came along for which their votes made a difference, they were right there with all the anti-gun Dems, voting for more brainless gun control. All those years were carefully choreographed lies.

        • A million times this.

          Wolves in sheepdog’s clothing.

          I can’t stand the “pro-gun” as long as it’s for PR, then when people make decisions off my pro-gun statements, I stab you in the back.

          Manchin should absolutely be made an example of.

  6. I don’t know how it works in Alabama but here in Florida it is in the best interest for the Police to bust the drug sellers, not the drug buyers. The drug buyers have drugs, which are bad. The drug sellers have money, which can be seized and after so many days becomes the property of the Police.

    Any process that involves fees or the potential for income is going to be promoted or protected by most of the Police Leadership. Without the extra income through seizure, fee, or fiat, the Police aren’t going to have enough money to get all the taticool toys they have become accustomed to having.

  7. Asking for a standard, or uniform, fee is no different from asking for standard fees for speeding. Sheriffs want the money. They are the people who most loudly proclaim that asset forfeiture is the only way to fight drugs, and crime, and bad stuff, and like that. Same for municipal police departments. In the end, it is always about money. The public are rubes who need controlling and fining.

    There was a story long ago (probably folk legend, but funny), about a New York hedge fund manager, and a speeding ticket in Georgia. The hedge fund manager was celebrating a $5million bonus, bought a Ferrari Testarossa, and decided on a road trip to Miami. Stopped at a roadside diner for lunch, the fund manager was leaving, and walking to his car, noticed a Georgia Sheriff sitting on the hood of the Testarossa. When the fund manager arrived at his car, he asked why the Sheriff was sitting on the hood. The Sheriff said nothing, and handed a speeding ticket to the car owner. It was a fine for exceeding 100mph. When asked how the Sheriff could issue a ticket when the car had not been tracked or followed at the speed indicated, the Sheriff responded, “That’s for the speeding I know you are going to do when you think no one is watching.” The worst? The fund manager was told he could appear in court to be sentenced, or be arrested to ensure he would show. The ticket was issued on Thursday, and the court would not hear traffic cases until the next Tuesday. Justice was done !

    Right.

    • Wouldn’t be a good plan today, absolutely nobody who could afford a Testarossa would approach that sherrif without a video running and his lawyer standing by on speed dial. And the cop would likely be working at a diner next week, if he wasn’t in jail.

      • “And the cop would likely be working at a diner next week, if he wasn’t in jail.”

        But it would be a local jury, and “downhome” is not just a quaint reference to Mamma’s house.

  8. turnaround on my Louisiana ccw was 6 months, permit classmate going on 7 months with no response from state police. I know he’s clean, he can’t get through to state police to find out what’s up. A right delayed is a right denied. I’d still renew my ccw though, I live too close to New Orleans, where rights go to die.

    • Hard to believe out of a gun friendly state. When I got my initial permit, I got it in the mail before the sheriff had even cashed the check. Turnaround was about two weeks. Renewal took about as long. If you can pass a background check and pay them they’re $100, you get one quickly and painlessly.

  9. The majority of county sheriffs in NYS openly oppose the safe act and by a very wide margin . Many stating they won’t enforce it .

  10. The notion that safety is a concern is complete hogwash.
    I would look into an audit for how the money from permits is used.
    Does the fund go into improving the safety of the officers?
    If the funds help the department, it seems logical they can get the funds from the county or state.
    Regardless they should support the constitutional carry.

  11. Sorry I didn’t get in here first. I would have said “que the Boss Hogg references”.

    Crooked is as crooked does.

    • God, no kidding; that guy is like a walking stereotype, and I can only assume he’s getting elected for exactly that reason.

    • ” I would have said “que the Boss Hogg references”.”

      Boss Hogg was funny. Most southern sheriffs are not.

  12. Just remember, it is not just about concealed carry. Alabama requires a pistol license to transport a pistol if it is not unloaded and locked in the trunk. If the vehicle has no lockable trunk, the unloaded pistol must be in a locked container that is out of reach of the driver or any passenger. This is not the case for any state contiguous to Alabama.

  13. My experience in NC is that the pistol purchase permit is mostly about money, but the CHP permit is about both money and control. Here the fees are regulated by the state. The purchase permit, silly as it is, costs only $5, you apply over a web site, and can designate any one of 6 or 7 local sheriff stations where you pick up the permit. You can order as many as you want at one time and they are good for 5 years. The CHP, on the other hand, at least in Guilford County (ostensibly pro-2A Republican sheriff in an anti-gun, liberal dominated county) is mostly about control. It took 2 months from the time I took the class until the time that I could get an appointment at ONLY the main sheriff’s office to fill out the application and have the fingerprints done. Needless to say, downtown, with minimal parking, all sorts of parking enforcement, and pay garages. The place was packed to the point that they gave out appointments to five people per hour, by name, and if you left the shop, you lost your turn. Deliberate inconvenience to prove how important the sheriff was. The wait after the fingerprints is set by state law. It’s not cheap here. A bit over $100 in permit fees and between $50 and $100 for the class depending on who is sponsoring it. Thankfully it is done for 5 years and we will be relocating to a less populated county with a seemingly firearms-friendly environment.

  14. Wyoming (residents)
    Idaho (residents)
    Nord Dakota (residents + permit for open carry)
    Missouri (locals can banned unlicensed open carry)

    not counted !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *