MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Senate on Thursday passed a bill that clarifies parts of existing law to strengthen citizens’ right to carry a firearm.
The bill, which has some business leaders concerned, would make it illegal for workplaces to disallow employees from transporting their firearms onto company property, as long as those weapons stay locked inside workers’ vehicles.
Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), the bill’s sponsor, said certain aspects of current state law could be misapplied in a way that restricts Alabamians’ Second Amendment right granted by the U.S. Constitution.
“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.”
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh praised Beason for his commitment to this issue, and for working with all sides to address concerns in a way that maintains the strength and original intent of the legislation.
“Senator Beason is steadfast in his commitment to protecting our constitutional right to bear arms,” Marsh said. “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. Senator 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.”
Components of Senate Bill 286 include:
-Amends current law to state that the carrying a visible, holstered firearm in a public place is not a violation of state law
-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.
-States that a Sheriff shall issue or renew a permit unless the Sheriff determines based upon competent evidence that the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or in a manner that would endanger the person, self or others. There is also an appeal process which gives a denied license applicant or an individual whose license was revoked an appeal to the District Court.
-Includes an “open carry” provision that does not restrict a person’s right to carry a pistol unconcealed or not in a vehicle.
-Creates a requirement that a public or private employer may not restrict or prohibit the transportation or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm in an employee’s privately-owned motor vehicle while parked in a public or private parking area if that employee satisfies certain conditions.
-Creates protections for business entities so that the entity has no duty to guard against the criminal act of a third party and is not liable for the actions of employees whose actions are outside the line and scope of their employment.
-Allows owners of property open to the public to post adequate notice prohibiting firearms and have violators, including licensed carriers, arrested for trespassing if the individual refuses to leave when asked in the presence of a law enforcement agent.
-Establishes that a business entity may not prohibit a person’s transportation or storage of a firearm or ammunition if certain conditions are met and allows for civil action in the event there is a violation of this property.
-Creates a list of prohibited places where a firearm may not be possessed without expressed permission of the owner (examples include college and high school athletic events, courthouses, and police and sheriff offices)
-Expands the “Castle Doctrine” to businesses, allowing for the use of deadly force in self-defense when an intruder enters his or her business.