Gun bill gets Committee approval

DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) – A New Alabama gun bill just made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the bill makes it to law, it would be legal for a citizen to carry a loaded handgun in their vehicle without a concealed carry permit.

It still has a long way to go to make it through the Senate and the House of Representatives, but it already has people talking.

In a six to two vote Wednesday, March 5, 2014 the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the proposed new gun legislation introduced by Republican Senator Scott Beason of Gardendale. It would essentially allow the same ownership privileges to drivers as homeowners.

“A car is an extension of some people’s homes,” said Tom Hand of Gold Mine Pawn Shop in Daphne. “They live in it a lot more and for commuting purposes they’re in it a lot of the time.”

Hand is in favor of the proposed legislation. He said that most of his customers already have concealed carry permits and got them specifically to be able to protect themselves while in their cars.

“So I don’t think this would really affect a good portion of them, but it will also give some people the right to defend themselves from a carjacker, hypothetically,” Hand explained. “In a situation like that they may not choose to get a permit.”

Currently, citizens can have a handgun in their car, but it must be unloaded and locked away out of reach. Opponents said if the Bill passes into Law, it will make law enforcement’s job much more dangerous.

“If you don’t have a gun permit, when he stops you, what’s he going to do? He’s going to grab his because he does not know if you’re carrying a gun or not if anyone can carry a gun,” said opponent to the bill, John Williams.

“Who’s to say they’re not some burglars going to carjack you at a red light and try to take everything you own. It’s the same thing as your house,” countered Brandon Stone, who’s in favor of the proposed change.

It’s a hot topic for debate that will next heat up on the floor of the Senate. The Alabama Sheriffs Association has been opposed to the bill over concerns for public safety.

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