Proposed gun law causes concern - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Proposed gun law causes concern

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MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A proposed gun law working its way through the legislature has sheriffs from across the state voicing concern. They believe if it passes, public safety would be at risk.

Senate Bill 286 would allow non-U.S. citizens to receive pistol permits, repeal prohibition of guns in many public places, and grant permission to carry pistols on private property.

The sheriff's association has an even bigger concern, and it starts with the fact that there are two types of states when it comes to pistol permits, a "may" state or a "shall" state.

Alabama is a "may" state, where the law says a sheriff may grant a permit even with a clean background check, but still has the discretion whether to grant you a pistol permit or not.

Lawmakers who sponsor the bill say current law opens the possibility for abused power.

On the other hand, Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said the law doesn't account for people with pending felony trials or convictions, someone known for harassment, assault, or being mentally unstable. If the law passes, they would all still be granted a permit.

"It would be taking us to a shall state because it gives us the parameters that a pistol permit would qualify so even though "shall" has been removed, it is still taking us to a shall state because it is giving me parameters that I can't cross as a sheriff," added Franklin.

Among other things, SB 286 is also causing concern for city leaders and law enforcement when it comes to allowing people to carry on state or local property like city hall or the courthouse, and carry a firearm at a public demonstration or rally, which Franklin said can carry an element of danger.

"If you had a rally of sovereign citizens or the Klan or any fringe group that wanted to come and rally and create a demonstration, anybody could be armed with anything. If we had to disperse those people, we are going to be out manned and outgunned," said Franklin.

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