Sheriff: Constitutional carry will mean more armed at hate rallies

With a bill to bring permitless concealed carry to Alabama tracking in the state senate, at least one local sheriff is against the proposal on grounds that it may translate into more guns at protests.

Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning argues the measure under review by lawmakers would elemenate the vetting process done by the county sheriffs in the state before issuing a permit to carry a concealed handgun and could put guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

“Alabama law currently prohibits weapons at organized protests. A repeal of the current law by the passing of SB24 will allow handguns to be present at both peaceful and non-peaceful protests,” said Dorning in a statement posted to the department’s site. “This is especially troublesome and dangerous for protests that espouse hatred. Although protests are protected by the First Amendment, these gatherings will now be attended by persons possessing a handgun hidden from view of law enforcement. SB24 will allow these persons with a past history of violent behavior to do so.”

Under current Alabama law, no person convicted in the state or elsewhere of a “crime of violence” may own or possess a handgun, regardless of possession of a permit.

Dorning went on to call SB24 “an attack on the safety of law enforcement,” and pleads to “not have this legislative act expose our children, schools, sporting events, houses of worship, and businesses to those with a background of violence.”

Issued by county sheriffs, pistol permit fees vary throughout the Yellowhammer State, depending on the county and the length of time the permit is valid. Permits issued by Dorning range in cost from $10 for a paper card good for a year to $100 for a 5-year plastic card.

SB 24 would keep Alabama’s current concealed carry permitting scheme administered through county sheriffs in place, but erase the requirement to obtain such a permit. Permit holders would retain the advantage of being able to buy a gun without an additional background check as well as reciprocal carry in the states that currently recognize Alabama’s permits.

The Alabama Sheriffs Association is against the legislation, with a number of their members being increasingly vocal about their reasons for opposing it including Pickens County Sheriff David Abston who cited loss of revenue and Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin who feels it is a public safety risk.