Passage pf gun control legislation lauded
Both of St. Clair County’s representatives in the Alabama Senate lauded the passage of gun legislation this week.

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, was the sponsor for Senate Bill 286, part of a bill that “clarifies parts of existing law to strengthen citizens’ rights to carry a firearm,” according to a release.

“In light of recent attempts from the federal government to chip away at our Constitutional right to bear arms, we have to do everything we can at the state level to preserve these rights,” Beason said. “It’s imperative that we make sure there are no aspects of state law that could be misinterpreted in a way that keeps us from protecting our families, our homes and ourselves.”

Among other provisions, SB 208 creates a free, lifetime revocable permit for carrying a firearm in a vehicle only. Under current law, a firearm in a vehicle is considered concealed and requires a concealed carry permit.

The bill also states that a sheriff shall issue or renew a permit unless the sheriff determines based on competent evidence that the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or in a manner that would endanger the person, self or others.

“Sen. Beason is steadfast in his commitment to protecting our Constitutional right to bear arms,” said Senate presiding pro tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston. “As a hunter, a husband and a father, I appreciate this commitment because it’s vitally important that our Second Amendment right is never eroded.

“Sen. Beason has been deliberate in listening to all sides of this issue and addressing legitimate concerns, while taking great care to ensure the original intent of the bill remains intact.”

The legislation will now go to the Alabama House of Representatives. Local delegates said they have yet to go over the bill in detail, but agree with the principle.

“I’m really pleased with everything I know about it so far,” said Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City. “The pledge was, ‘We’re going to have some of the strongest gun rights in the nation.’ That’s what our plan is.”

Butler was equally ecstatic for the House’s passage of legislation that mandates stricter standards for abortion clinics in the state.

“I read today that the Huntsville abortion clinic plans to close, and that’s my intention,” Butler said. “I want to regulate them out of business. I just think every life is precious and created by God.”

Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Leeds, echoed Butler’s sentiment.

“A lot of people are against it,” Drake said. “They think we’re trying to do away with abortions, which we can’t. The only thing we’re trying to do is have the same safety procedures in place that you would with any other procedure.”

Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, personally sponsored legislation that would increase sentences for crimes committed while wearing body armor. He said the presence of such establishes an intent to do harm.

“If a guy’s got enough of sense to put a vest on, he’s ready to pull the trigger if he has to,” Wood said.

Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he expects the state’s General Fund Budget and Education Trust Fund budget to come before the Legislature this week.

“We may actually have budgets done in … record time,” McClendon said. “Typically we get final approval of the budgets in the last hour of the last day, and this time we’re moving forward and moving the budgets out quicker. We’re really doing our best to have more public input opportunities on these than we have in the past.”

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