Alvin Holmes files bill to repeal new Alabama gun law

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Rep. Alvin Holmes has sponsored legislation that would repeal a sweeping new gun bill passed by the Legislature last spring. (Lloyd Gallman/Montgomery Advertiser)

Rep. Alvin Holmes has sponsored legislation that would repeal a sweeping new gun bill passed by the Legislature last spring. (Lloyd Gallman/Montgomery Advertiser)

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, filed a bill late Thursday that would repeal a sweeping new gun rights law passed by the Legislature last spring.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, made it easier to obtain gun permits, and allows individuals with concealed carry permits to take their weapons to their workplaces, if the firearm is locked and stowed away. The measure also says the carrying of holster weapon in public does not necessarily result in disorderly conduct, unless a court can prove otherwise.

Among other effects, the legislation has led a number of businesses to post signs expressing forbidding firearms on their property; the law requires those signs to be posted for entities wishing to prevent guns from being carried onto their premises.

The bill also changed language that said sheriffs “may issue” gun permits to “shall issue” gun permits. The Alabama Sheriffs’ Association initially opposed that change, but dropped its opposition to the bill after revisions added 11 reasons for sheriffs’ to deny gun permits, including mental illness or “justifiable concern for public safety.”

Holmes said he supported “Second Amendment rights,” but that the open-carry elements of the bill would encourage violence.

“With people who have read this bill, and (have found) what’s in it, it’s not that popular,” he said. ”It’s popular with these conservative gun rights people, not with the broad spectrum of Republicans or Democrats or independents. People don’t want to see other people walking around with .45s on their hips.”

Holmes’ bill faces long odds of passage. Though the legislation ran into unyielding opposition from the Business Council of Alabama, which called the parking lot provision an attack on property rights, the Republican-dominated chambers of the Alabama Legislature passed the law by wide margins in May. In a statement, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said Holmes was “following the lead of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party” in its gun policies.

“Thanks to the Republican Legislature, however, Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights are more secure than ever, and we will continue to prioritize and protect those rights whenever and wherever possible,” the statement said.

The legislation was backed by the National Rifle Association, which has supported similar measures in other states.

– posted by Brian Lyman

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