On one side sits state Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, a politician who has a long string of poor policy decisions and general demagoguery.
On the other is a collection of sheriffs, district attorneys and police officers. These are the men and women we depend on to keep our streets safe.
Beason has a bill that has the potential to turn the state into the “Wild West,” with fewer restrictions on who and where Alabamians can pack heat.
Opponents to Beason’s bill include: Alabama’s sheriffs, including Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, the Alabama District Attorney’s Association, the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police and the Business Council of Alabama.
Many of the opponents have a deeper, more personal experience with guns. Peace officers are the ones who must stand on a front porch not knowing if the bad guy on the other side of the door has an arsenal at the ready.
Sheriffs have the power to issue concealed-carry permits, an awesome responsibility given that putting a weapon in the hands of a mentally unstable person and/or a criminal could have lethal consequences. Sheriffs have expressed concerns that if the bill becomes law, they will lose some discretion awarding licenses, not to mention revenue from processing applications.
A bill opposed by an amazing array of law-enforcers, prosecutors and business interests sailed through the Senate with only five dissenting votes. The only thing standing in its way now is a successful vote in the House of Representatives and the governor’s signature.
This episode speaks loud and clear about the state of gun politics in Alabama. It’s a very sad state.