Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, at a Tea Party meeting in 2013. Photo credit: Mike Brantley/mbrantley@al.com

Alabama’s history of respecting the civil rights of its residents has been spotty, to say the least. The Alabama Democratic Party, exemplified by members such as Sherrif “Bull” Connor and George Wallace, has a long and odious history of oppressing their own constituents to gain political power. That history is one that Alabama’s — indeed, all of America’s — politicians and citizenry need to consider whenever proposed legislation affects the civil rights of its inhabitants . . .

I mention this because the Alabama Senate recently passed Senate Bill 14, which would do a number of things including:

* Establishes that “the mere lawful carrying of a visible, holstered, or secured firearm in a public place, in and of itself, shall not be a violation of [the disorderly conduct law, Ala. Code § 13A-11-7].”

* Establishes that a person could carry a firearm without a license on “real property under his or her own control, including his or her own vehicle, in his or her own abode, in his or her own fixed place of business, on the real property of another with consent, or in a vehicle of another with consent.” The bill also clarifies that persons under 18 years of age could not possess a pistol in a vehicle. Right now, the law requires a permit for all individuals to carry a firearm in those circumstances.

* Eliminate the requirement that persons without a permit could only possess a pistol in a vehicle if unloaded, and “locked in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the vehicle and out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.”

In other words, the bill represents a tiny step toward Alabama’s firearms carry laws becoming more like the laws of Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, and Wyoming. (No doubt you’ve seen the articles about blood running in the streets of Bennington from all the crime there since its “Constitutional Carry” law was enacted in…1791.)

Instead, Alabama’s politicians and Sheriffs appear to be emulating people like HuffPo’s Mike Weisser (Cf. “New Kansas Gun Law Isn’t Constitutional Carry, It’s Crazy Carry“). As WKRG.com reports:

A proposal to allow a loaded handgun in the car has overwhelmingly passed the Alabama Senate last week but, it may lack support in the State House.

Currently if a person is transporting a gun to the range, or anywhere else, it must be empty, otherwise a pistol license is required.

“We think that our gun laws are right where they need to be in the state of Alabama and they do not need to be changed or amended,” said Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran.

Senate Bill 14 is proposing to the change that, and law enforcement officials like Sheriff Cochran and Police Chief James Barber have come out against it.

“The more loaded guns you have in cars by maybe irresponsible people the more guns are going to be stolen out of Mobile burglaries and things like all,” added Cochran.

They fear it would bring more guns to public events, and potentially be involved in road rage incidents.

Sheriff Cochran from Mobile County – a member of the Republican Party –  thinks that the right to possess a firearm should be limited because some people are “maybe irresponsible”.  In fact, both Cochran and Mobile Police Chief Barber have a video on YouTube asking for people to oppose Senate Bill 14 because “allowing our teenagers to carry loaded guns in their cars is a dangerous idea….”

 

Not exactly a shining moment in Alabama law enforcement leadership history. Still, surely other politicians might be made of sterner stuff?

While the measure had a lot of support in the State Senate, that may not be the case in the House. Representative David Sessions, who is pro gun rights, told us it was not necessary.

“I think we’ve heard a lot from the Sheriff’s Association and different law enforcement that really do not favor this bill so it’d be really hard to support legislation,” said Sessions.

Sessions thinks due to ongoing budget crisis, the bill may not even have a chance to hit the floor this year.

Sessions is, of course, also a member of the Republican Party, from Mobile County. (Alabama gun owners: what is it with Mobile County Republicans?)

I suspect that the opposition from law enforcement comes more from the fact that police like having options to stop people, and prosecutors like having options to put people in jail. It’s something I’ve written about in the past. It isn’t because they’re inherently bad people; it’s just that people like it better when their jobs are easier. Zounds, I would never have bothered learning VBA if it hadn’t made parts of my job easier at the time.

The highest aim of a constitutional government, however, is not to make the lives of its security services easy. Alabama’s history is replete with examples of abuse of police authority against the citizenry. While this instance clearly doesn’t rise to the level of outright oppression between the Civil War and the 1960s, I’d say that Alabama’s political and law enforcement really ought to think twice before they gainsay efforts to strengthen and expand legal protections for civil liberties in their state.

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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52 Responses to Mobile, AL GOP Pols Give Thumbs Down to Expanded Gun Rights

  1. Alabama is one of those places like South Carolina where they just get so much wrong despite potentially having the right people.

  2. Maybe it’s time to take up a collection….

    Of articles, videos, etc. of all the stupid things Alabama law enforcement – responsible, trained individuals – have done.

    Let’s start with the M’s, say, Mobile County…

  3. Mobile isn’t the bluest part of the state but their politics follow that of all large urban areas – statist.

    I have relatives in Mobile that are conservative on all issues – except firearms. If I ever hear “yes, but for the children” or “why would anyone want a gun” again it’ll be too soon. Meanwhile they have a swimming pool with open access to the neighborhood.

    I do have to silently laugh when they comment on the weight of my wife’s purse. What do you have in there!? Anti-Bloomberg capacity spare mags – she doesn’t say out loud. Just might have to tell them they haven’t been around us in ten years when we both haven’t been carrying at least one each.

  4. George Wallace a Democrat?…huh…. The same George Wallace that refused Blacks equal rights?…The same Wallace that had to be forced at gunpoint to allow Blacks to go to U of A ?.huh…..Democrat right?.. huh…

    • Same man, same party. Just like Robert “KKKleagle” Byrd from WV, and Lyndon B. “I’ll have those n******s voting Democrat for 200 years.” Johnson from TX

    • If that surprises you, please study the history of the reconstruction after the civil war, or the war of northern aggression, as it is known in Alabama.

    • George Wallace was a racist democrat standing in the way of educating black children. In the 1980’s he was overwhelmingly reelected as a Republican with a vast majority of the black vote. He had changed. However democrats still stand in the way of educating black children while they send their kids to private Lilly white schools like Bill and Hillary did for Chelsea.

      Republican Ronald Reagan was responsible for the loss of gun civil rights as California governor and as president. But is was President Bush the son who allowed the assault weapons ban to expire under his watch.

    • That’s part of the stupidity of the T-bagger Nation. The knuckler draggers like to forget that the segregationists of the 50’s and early 60’s were forced out of the Democratic Party. So who welcomed the Dixiecrats? The Republicans, of course.

      But once again today’s Republicans are either too dishonest or too stupid to understand that their party is today the party of segregation.

      • Given the “trollesque” replies and your arrogant name, you obviously didn’t study, or learn from history.

        Al Gore Sr. Yes the Dad of Al Jr., Former Senator from TN. Fought along with most Southern Democrats against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I hope I’m not going too fast for you. Learn some history.
        Your Mom called, your dinner is ready.

      • Actually you are wrong. 11 of th 12 Democrat senators that filibustered the Civil Rights Act stayed with the DNC. Fullbright and Gore’s Daddy were among them along with Grand Wizard Bob Byrd eulogized by Barry. Nice try though . . . actually . . . not really.

        • There were way more than 12 segregationalist Democrats, though. And most of them did in fact switch parties, if they didn’t leave politics by the time Republicans embraced “southern strategy”.

          I don’t understand why this is even a contentious issue with GOP supporters today. It’s not like your own champions, such as Lee Atwater, haven’t openly admitted that they have courted the racist vote since Goldwater. Hell, there was even a formal apology by RNC.

        • I am not a G.O.P. supporter. I do go after any politician that is in with the gun ban lobby and anti-2A. The past 20 years, 99% of the DNC are anti-gun. The Civil Rights Act wasn’t past by a majority of votes from the DNC though. The 12 I referred to nearly derailed it. Plus, old Banes himself used the n-word in reference to getting black voters for the next 200 years.

          MLK was Republican and so was Condi’s dad because the Dems wouldn’t let them register. MLK was denied a ccw license several times.

  5. People had a good laugh when Alabama was banning sex toys. You can get all the sex toys you want in California. But you have to wait to get a firearm because homosexual law makers say so. Both Alabama and California have a racist history of gun control laws. In some ways California was only a little better when it came to race relations. Japanese Americans would disagree. Freedom is going in the south. Freedom is being lost in California. But you still have Marijuana intoxication and lots of easy to get no waiting for sex toys.

    • The sex toy ban didn’t stand. There are two adult stores in my area that stock these items. They even advertise on cable and radio.

      • I’m glad to hear freedom is expanding in the south. Freedom is going away in California and other “Liberal ” states.

    • Chris, is that Congressional District that includes Lincoln County still dead last in the nation in terms of high school graduation, literacy, and per capita income? As someone who was born in Kentucky and a UK grad, it really makes me understand why Kentucky is dead last in this nation in many ways. Your yearning for sex toys and paranoia over marijuana (you do know that’s Kentucky’s #1 cash crop, don’t you?) and gay folks makes me happy that I am in Texas. We have some incredibly stupid rednecks here but at least most of them appreciate telephones and electric power.

      • Kentucky does have very lax gun laws and things usually are pretty good in most parts of the state It is a pretty state for the most part. My Wife’s old family homestead property is located in a pretty area and the people are decent. I may retire to Kentucky at a later date and buy an AR just to piss off liberals.

    • Chris, It does not take a “homosexual” person to realize that and stand up for the rights of our citizens. Not sure why you are so focused on the sex toy issue ? And why you are for guns and against sex toys. Sounds the position of a person of the right wing religious political persuasion to me.

      • http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-s-lone-gun-store-can-reopen-for-business-3175425.php

        San Francisco’s only gun store can resume selling firearms as early as November after the Police Department approved a conditional permit Wednesday, first requiring the store to beef up security measures before it reopens

        http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-teacher-selfies-sex-toys-20150605-story.html

        Bay Area teacher reportedly asks students to snap selfies with parents’ sex toys

        I understand the obsession you and other people have with sex toys. You sue to get them. You spend a great deal of money on lawyers to get sex toys. But your type will spend lots of money to prevent people like me from getting firearms. And in San Francisco a city with millions of citizens there is only one gun store? But you have hundreds of stores who will sell you a sex toy with no waiting to get it. If you want a fire arm you have to wait several days to get it.

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/07/robert-farago/californias-new-gun-laws-revealed/

        AB 500 – Democratic Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s bill requires the Department of Justice to have a firearm dealer delay the sale of a gun if the buyer “has been taken into custody and placed in a facility for mental health treatment or evaluation, that he or she has been arrested for, or charged with, a crime, or that the purchaser is attempting to purchase more than one firearm within a 30-day period.” The DOJ must determine whether or not that person is eligible to buy a firearm within 30 days of the usual 10-day waiting period.

        It was Tom Ammiano the open homosexual law maker who wrote the bill that jerry brown signed into law making everyone wait up to ten days longer to get a firearm. I wonder how many women have been raped because they could not get a gun when they needed it? This white homosexual man is stepping on the necks of people holding them down. He has never supported civil rights. He is the enemy. And you keep voting for people like him.

        As I said before freedom is growing in Alabama and it is dying in California. This web site is called “the truth about guns”. It is not called the truth about good sex toys. If you want that, then go to another web site.

  6. It has everything to do with money. In Alabama, the Sheriff gets to use the money from pistol permits for whatever he wants. It’s money out of their pocket. That’s why they oppose Constitutional carry.

  7. It’s all about the money in the case of the sheriff. In Bama the ccw permit money goes into discretionary fund for the local sheriff. A lot of people buy the ccw for car carry to and from the range. So making it legal to with out a permit cuts into there cash.

    • For some, not all. I talked with my sheriff while renewing my license. He supports constitutional carry. He said he’d rather not deal with the hassle of a constant stream of people coming into his office like the DMV.

      At least the fee is relatively minor – $7 to $30 a year and you can get a license for up to 5 years at a time. In my case $50 for 5 years. No training requirement, no photo, no fingerprinting – it’s literally pay the fee and get the card.

  8. Who the heck took a poll? Who allowed one?

    The value I place on your life is equal or less than the value you place on my ability to protect myself as I see fit.

    Right now, AL value balances between 1/2 and 3/16ths a wet tick-turd. Better hope no one else places a put or call before AL gets to work on that.

  9. Well that video is a crock. Stop our teenagers from having firearms? So they want you to have to be 20 to join the military? Also show me where in the second amendment there is an age restriction? We had children fighting and shooting in both the revolutionary and civil wars. Like I said it is a load of crap.

    • The Second has no age restriction because it assumed the system generally considered to come under the militia concept: sixteen and up could join the militia, fourteen and sometimes even thirteen could be part of the home defense part of the militia, that stayed to defend the town in case of need — so all were allowed long guns, anyone eligible for the militia could have handguns.

      Frak, that principle was pretty much the rule in a small town where I once lived; the sheriff paid no attention to state or federal laws about who could have a firearm, and when it was announced there were some violent criminals on the loose in the area pretty much everyone fourteen and up was armed out in the countryside and many at home until the bad guys were rounded up.
      I remember when some liberal transplant from an urban area suggested those under eighteen shouldn’t be carrying guns, and a mother replied, “Maybe your kids can’t be trusted, but I would never insult my children by taking away things they know how to handle”.

  10. Since September 2007, Texans have been able to carry loaded guns inside their cars and trucks. No bloodbath on streets yet. Those that pull triggers on innocents would do so without the law passing in 2007. The Alabama cops don’t want the good guys to have that option of protection. More victims = more job security.

  11. This…….this makes me want to climb the walls. Some people get worked up and want to go fight the brown goat buggers in sand land. I want to fight people like this, and the invertebrate politicians who give in.

  12. Thank you Freedom Group for stepping up to the plate in your new digs. Guess the tax breaks were more important than the Second Amendment, right George?

  13. “We think that our gun laws are right about where they need to be…”

    That seems like the the go-to phrase for those who pay lip service to gun rights. Didn’t Chris Christie say something similar about New Jersey’s laws?

    What they all really mean is, “We think the people should have less rights, but we don’t want to seem like we are actively working to take those rights away.”

    • Cogline, I don’t think you necessarily are breaking the law. Depends on if you stay close to the Interstate, how often and where you stop. Don’t remember the name of the Statute but sure someone else can chime in. The law that says you can carry from one state to another and pass through another state without necessarily abiding by their firearm laws. You probably should check that out.

      • @cogline–Gatha58 was talking about the Interstate Transportation. You have to have your gun unloaded and locked away, and your ammunition stored separately. Remember that a neutered sheepdog does no good for the sheep, it only benefits the wolves.
        If you value your life and know that you have a God given, not government granted right to self-defense continue carrying on illegally. If you carry illegally though even out of ignorance there are consequences.
        You have to love as a citizen of a free country that the government can place free citizens in a position of choosing between their lives or an unconstitutional law.

  14. Alabama has more gun laws that suck than Indiana and we are supposed to be a dang Yankee state.

    • As far as I can gather, Indiana has nearly the best firearm laws in the nation. Concealed carry at age 18, almost no criminal empowerment “pistol free” zones, etc. About the only way they could improve is to go to constitutional carry.

  15. This is a good example of how the leftist-controlled urban centers have kept their foot on our collective throats in the rest of the state. But I’m glad I live in N. Alabama, except being in a dry county sucks at times. Cops around here know most of use are armed at all times, and thus they don’t exhibit hysterical reactions when encountering an armed citizen like city cops do.

      • Most of North Alabama counties are dry, including Limestone. But cities in those counties can be wet…like Athens in Limestone. Possession in a dry county is legal but depending upon where you live can be inconvenient.

        Madison county is next to Limestone and is wet 7 days a week.

        State senator Orr recently introduced legislation to end the state’s involvement in retail alcohol sales.

  16. Sen. Jeff Sessions is also from Alabama. I can’t find any indication that he’s related to the David Sessions mentioned in the article, but Sessions isn’t that common a name. Does anyone know if there’s a relationship?

  17. “The more loaded guns you have in cars by maybe irresponsible people the more guns are going to be stolen out of Mobile burglaries and things like all,”

    If that’s an accurate quote and not a bad transcription, someone needs to get the Sheriff to a CAT scan machine ASAP. Sounds like the language center of his brain may have stroked out.

  18. Having spent several months in Mobile recently for business, I had occasion to review the state laws. There is the below little quirk which makes it illegal to have a pistol in a car without a permit, period. There are no transport exceptions. They have unrestricted open carry, but without the ability to carry from place to place in your car without a permit, open carry is dead. I asked the local FFL and he said yep, it’s true, but if I use his name the LEO will not push the issue if it’s locked and unloaded in the trunk. The Federal interstate transportation doesn’t apply if you are within state. I can’t imagine why this little wonder exists, but be sure, it has killed open carry completely.

    Section 13A-11-73 License to Carry Pistol in Vehicle or Concealed on person – Required.
    No person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person, except on his land, in his own abode or fixed place of business, without a license therefor as hereinafter provided.

    • FOPA applies everywhere in Alabama, and therefore you may lawfully transport unloaded and secured firearms in your vehicle. Damned hard to travel or go hunting without it. Now, whether or not Alabama chooses to respect federal law, or instead refuse to as New York and New Jersey police agencies, is a different matter.

      • FOPA applies to interstate travel and not intrastate travel. Of course, NJ and NY violates both.

  19. Baldwin co borders Mobile co to the east. Baldwin county’s sherrif one Hoss Mack did his damnedest to stop shall issue but fornutely failed. I don’t understand his reasoning as shall issue brought in serious revenue, unless of course he too believes we the people can’t be trusted with firearms.I didn’t vote for the man last time

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