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.