HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The battle lines are being drawn in front of the Huntsville Madison County Public Library.
The issue is whether you should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm while visiting the library.
The sign beside the library’s front door is hard to miss. No guns permitted in this facility per state law. And that’s the problem.
The state says that is not the law, and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has put the city on notice. They have 60 days to remove the signs or face legal action from the state.
“We haven’t had any kind of concerns or comments brought up today or this week by any of the patrons,” said laura McPhail of the Huntsville Madison County Public Library
Huntsville City attorney Trey Riley responded to the attorney general’s office claiming the library meets the law’s exemptions by the fact security guards are on duty while the library is open.
There are also additional security measures in place, such as security cameras. But the attorney general’s investigation revealed there’s not always a security guard in the security area, and they found the security cameras are not routinely monitored.
“It would be better if they had more security and stuff here, you know, at the library.” said library patron Mark Bone.
Riley was tied up at a city council work session and not available for comment. So we asked library patrons if they were uncomfortable with concealed weapons in the library.
Some had no problem with the idea.
“Not really. I support the right to bear arms and when you need a gun you need a gun. Then again, it’s common sense don’t bring a gun in here,” said Sandy Panagos.
Other patrons expressed concerns.
“I think that’s really a stupid idea. The library should at least be someplace where we can go and be sure of a gun free environment, “said Daniel Little. “It sounds like something the Republicans and NRA would cook up to remove the signs.”
The city also argues the library serves essentially as a school building for numerous home school families and programs. As such, Riley claims federal statutes also come into play. The matter remains unsettled for now, but for now, the signs will remain in place.
The attorney general’s office claims the library is considered, what they call a political subdivision. It came up recently when the library system in Shelby County faced the same issue.
It means existing gun laws in Alabama would allow patrons to carry concealed firearms while visiting the library.
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