Ala. House panel approves compromise gun bill - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Ala. House panel approves compromise gun bill

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A House Committee approved a compromise version of a bill that allows gun owners to carry a pistol in their vehicle.

The bill has already passed the Senate, but it will have to go back to the Senate because of changes made as part of the compromise.

House Commerce and Small Business Committee Chairman Republican Jack Williams of Vestavia said he expects the full House to vote on the bill next week.     

The committee approved the bill after House and Senate supporters announced that various groups had reached a compromise.     

House Speaker Mike Hubbard said the compromise bill balances concerns of law enforcement officials while also protecting the right to bear arms.   

The Alabama Sheriffs' Association and the Alabama District Attorneys' Association, who were initially opposed to SB 286, said they were able to have their concerns addressed in the substitute version of the bill. 

"The Alabama Sheriffs' Association understands that this would not have been possible without the support and occasionally the urging of Speaker Hubbard," Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said. "We feel this is a bill that benefits the public, it preserves their Second Amendment rights, and it also provides safeguards for public safety."

The National Rifle Association endorsed the bill. NRA spokesman Trevor Santos said the bill contains needed reforms.

Provisions of the substitute bill include:

  • Individuals without a concealed carry permit would be allowed to carry a pistol in their car if it is unloaded, locked away, and out of reach of the driver or passenger.

  • Changes Alabama from a ‘May Issue' to a ‘Shall Issue' state.  Sheriffs will be required to provide documented reasoning for denying permits, and individuals may appeal the issuing decision.

  • Requires employees to have either a valid concealed carry permit or a hunting license to carry a firearm onto a work site.  Additionally, the employee cannot have been convicted of a violent crime, have been involuntarily committed, or have past incidents of domestic violence.

  • Provides employers with immunity against lawsuits in the event an employee brings a weapon to work and an incident occurs.

  • Expands the definition of "crimes of violence" to include all Class A felonies and Class B felonies that involve serious physical injury, distribution and manufacture of a controlled substance and crimes of a sexual nature involving children under 12.  Individuals convicted of a "crime of violence" cannot own a firearm in Alabama.

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