Our View: Daring to boast about defending our rights
We want to believe that people who run for state office do so out of a sincere motivation to help improve the quality of life for people who live in Alabama, and that includes protecting their rights. After all, our state motto declares “We Dare Defend our Rights.”

The state’s Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives even came up with a list of bills that should carry popular support for those who have conservative leanings on social issues — which, judging by election results over the past half-century or so, is most of us.

But we do wonder about that sincerity when the bills being pushed don’t seem to mean anything.

Take House Bill 8, the “pro-gun” bill listed on the House GOP’s list.

The essence of the bill is this:

"No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state."

Huh?

That apparently is in response to fears about the United Nations Small Arms Treaty. That’s an effort to crack down on the illegal arms trade internationally. Concerns have been raised about the treaty being a back-door approach to infringing on gun rights, but we fail to see how a treaty could trump the Constitution. We see no harm in the bill, but don’t see any value in it either — except possible political points.

Another gun bill being discussed focuses on transportation of firearms. The bill would “authorize a person to transport a pistol to and from a shooting range without a pistol permit, provided that the pistol remains unloaded and secured in the trunk or other locked container under certain conditions within a motor vehicle during transport” without having a pistol permit.

Again: Huh?

We’re not attorneys, but we believe that’s already legal. There’s even a federal law that says so, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.

We can’t help but wonder whether these bills are toothless instruments to give the appearance that Republican legislators are interested in defending gun rights when they’re really just pandering to the voters.

With the limited number of days in the legislative session, we think that time could be better spent.

© 2013