- Cullman, Alabama


August 26, 2013

EDITORIAL: Dangerous area of the law

CULLMAN — The debate over the logic behind Alabama’s new gun law is not going away anytime soon.

Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, one of the chief architects of the bill, apparently is not even certain of what the legislation means. After a debate with Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper last week, Henry was asked about the no-gun policies at institutions such as Wallace State Community College. The University of Alabama also released its updated policy of forbidding weapons on campus which, like Wallace State, includes all property owned and used by college.

Henry contends that a policy is not going to supersede state law. He said the policy banning weapons most likely would be overturned. And furthermore, Henry “really doesn’t care which way it goes.”

The problem with Henry’s view is that if someone not intending to cause harm legally enters a school with a gun, the possibility arises that someone else could gain access to the weapon. The man arrested in a Florence middle school was reportedly intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon. While he may have only intended to have lunch with his child, his condition could have become volatile under the influence of alcohol.

With so many tragedies in public schools in recent years, it’s unthinkable that a responsible lawmaker and body of lawmakers would pass legislation that is lacking in thought and potentially opens the door to greater horror in society.

For all the good state lawmakers can do in matters concerning smaller, more efficient government and setting the tone for economic growth, the gun bill remains puzzling.

School and law enforcement officials are upset by the law. Many citizens are upset or don’t understand it. In fact, who really understands the law?

Gun ownership has not been under threat in Alabama. No one is creeping in to take our guns in the still of the night. The strongest gun advocate, however, would be upset at the sight of a stranger walking the streets with a gun strapped on, especially near a school.

Police were once clear on what constituted reasonable suspicion in this modern society. A man parading around with a gun in the open is awfully suspicious. So how do we tell the difference in law-abiding citizen or a suspicious character with this law?

Henry’s bill is nothing short of dangerous. Amendments should be made that clearly allow schools, businesses and others who wish to maintain gun-free zones to do so without fear of violating this heap of nonsense Alabama calls a law. And Mr. Henry, you should care when so many gray areas remain.

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