- Cullman, Alabama


March 11, 2013

EDITORIAL: Guns and politics

CULLMAN — While the state of Alabama struggles to salvage its troubled General Fund budget, a few lawmakers decided they’d had enough of serious business and waded into the nation’s debate over gun control.

Aimed at making a statement to President Obama and federal lawmakers, a state Senate committee concocted a bill, No. 286, that would loosen gun control laws and  potentially take away the sheriff’s authority to deny a concealed carry permit. The bill would also extend the renew period for permits from one year to five years.

Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey and Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper are opposing what they call a “radical” approach to the state’s existing gun laws.

Rainey, who has publicly stated his support for the Second Amendment, is troubled by the bill because it removes the valuable discretion that law enforcement officials carry in regards to who can have a conceal permit. The bill is also weighted with liberal amounts of snake oil where private businesses are concerned.

The 30-page bill would make it difficult for a private business to ban guns on their property and would ultimately trump any local gun ordinances. Culpepper also noted that the bill would repeal an existing state law that prohibits firearms at public protests, demonstrations and rallies.

Two opposing groups at a demonstration could draw their firearms and shoot up the vicinity leaving innocent people injured or dead. Law enforcement officials would only be able to react after the fact.

Frankly, the bill is stupid and dangerous. Some lawmakers are apparently intent on resurrecting the Confederacy by imposing the state’s will against perceived federal intrusion.

At last glance, the Second Amendment is still intact. There is a discussion under way concerning background checks, banning assault weapons and limiting the size of ammunition magazines. That’s a discussion, not an undoing of the Second Amendment.

The reaction in this Senate committee to public debate over guns shows a lack of maturity and threatens to bring big state government rules into the lives of Alabamians. That seems contrary to the Republican philosophy, but this bill is all about government imposing its will on the people.

Presuming that all Alabamians want to drive and walk around town with a gun strapped to their waists is the kind of intellectual malfunctioning that erodes trust in government. It would be appropriate for lawmakers to pass a resolution supporting the Second Amendment or opposing any changes to current laws, but to deliberately attempt legislation that threatens chaos and violence in society is foolish behavior. Those lawmakers responsible for this political tripe should be voted out of office. In the meantime, the majority of legislators should make sure this demagoguery is banished.

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