Lawmakers should turn to law enforcers in gun laws

Published 8:43pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman is very much an advocate for gun ownership and laws that protect the rights the second amendment promises.

But even Huffman, and other sheriffs around the state are concerned with the new gun laws in Alabama that went into effect Thursday.

The new laws allow guns in more places and allows for citizens to carry guns without permits, but they have certain limitations. Citizens cannot conceal their weapons without a permit and they cannot have them loaded and within reach in a vehicle.

This means, as Huffman explained to the Times-Journal, someone could walk down Broad Street and have a six-shooter strapped to their leg and it is legal for them to do so without a permit — as long as they do not hide the weapon in a purse, coat or pocket, it is legal.

Huffman said this will allow anyone to carry guns around public places, into stores and restaurants.

These new laws, while protecting the right to bear arms, have those who know the most about criminal activity and gun ownership (illegal gun ownership mostly) concerned.

If sheriff’s departments and police forces in our state, who know how criminals operate, are concerned, then we should listen.

Surely our public safety officials know the needs our city and county face the most and how these new laws could be negative, more so than those in Montgomery who created these laws.

It is also concerning that the state issued a 66-page document that changes the rules, but multiple public safety officials throughout the state have gone on the record to say they don’t quite understand these rules yet — even days leading up to the Aug. 1 changeover.

We encourage our elected leaders to follow the how these new laws work, the real-life repercussions, both positive and negative.

And we encourage legislators to follow up their findings with any necessary changes and amendments to ensure the intent of these laws is clearly defined, followed and has the expected impact.

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