CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Editorials

August 21, 2013

A law that is lawless

CULLMAN — One of the author’s of Alabama’s new gun legislation came face-to-face with business owners and law enforcement officials Tuesday at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.

The result of more than one hour of discussion and debate between state Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, and Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper was a lingering air of uncertainty concerning how citizens can carry guns in public.

Henry contends the law was intended to clarify under what conditions citizens can openly carry guns in public. He also said the law creates an appeal process for those denied pistol permits by county sheriffs.

Henry, a first-term lawmaker whose district covers a portion of Cullman County, is adamant that citizens should be able to carry guns to protect themselves. But his bill is more like an invitation to anarchy than a clarification or act to enhance personal protection. He seems to be the only person who understands how the bill works, if you accept “think outside the box” as a statement of reason.

That’s exactly what Henry challenged Culpepper, Sheriff Mike Rainey and others in law enforcement to do concerning this mixed up piece of legislation. So, if a man is walking south on U.S. 31 in Cullman with a rifle over his shoulder, police don’t have a reason to stop him. Never mind the hysteria of the people when they see one of the kooks who embraces such behavior parading around town with a rifle. He’s just protecting himself on the mean streets of Cullman.

Can the same person walk into a bank armed?

Most gun owners are reasonable citizens who enjoy hunting, target shooting and appreciate the idea that they can own a gun as a means of protecting their families. Does the average person really want to see a gunman parading down a city street? Ownership of guns is an American right that is chiseled in stone. But with all the violence occurring in society, why would any lawmaker think that openly carrying firearms will make things better?

The new law has just made the job of law enforcement more difficult in discerning who is safely carrying a gun and who is not. The courts will likely be called on to dig into this law at great expense to the taxpayers. Lawmakers could save some expense by repealing the mess and taking a more sensible approach to the issue.

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