By: DJ Parten
Constitutional Carry, the right to carry a firearm openly or concealed without first obtaining permission from the government, is a truly common sense idea.
It stems from a literal reading of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
If the right to keep and bear arms is a right all citizens have -- whether God-given or by nature -- and the Constitution only serves to protect that right, it makes sense that government should not strip people of their right only to sell it back to them in the form of a license or permit.
It would seem like this is an idea Republicans can get behind.
After all, they are the party of conservatism and support the original interpretation of the Constitution, right?
Alabama, a state with solid Republican control of the government, kills Constitutional Carry legislation year after year.
Led by Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, the Alabama House of Representatives refuses even to hold a committee vote on this pro-gun, pro-Constitution legislation.
Their excuse? The sheriffs don’t want it.
Every time it appears that Constitutional Carry might have a chance at moving forward in the process, sheriffs leave their counties and flock to the Capitol on the taxpayers’ dime with hordes of red-shirt-wearing members of Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Moms Demand Action.
This big show of force by the Alabama Sheriffs Association makes one wonder why they could be so adamantly opposed to this bill.
If you were to ask one of them, their answer would be something along the lines of “the permit protects the safety of the officers.”
Now, that may be a valid argument if it were actually true. Nothing about the piece of paper issued by the sheriffs does anything to keep law enforcement officers safe.
In fact, 15 other states across the country have implemented Constitutional Carry, and none of them have had issues with officer safety.
There is zero evidence to back up this absurd claim.
The reality is that sheriffs make incredible amounts of money from issuing citizens their rights back.
In 2017, then-executive director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association sent an email to sheriffs urging them to contact legislators if they “value their permit fund.” See here: https://www.al.com/opinion/2017/03/internal_sheriffs_association.html
It is clear that the real motivation Alabama sheriffs have for opposing Alabamians’ right to carry is their pocketbooks.
As you let the reality sink in that Alabama lawmakers and sheriffs are in cahoots, working to continue infringing on your rights, think about this. The motto of the State of Alabama is:
Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere
“We Dare Defend Our Rights”
Born and raised in Alabama, I take these words to heart.
I no longer live in the Yellowhammer State, but I still realize that our identity as Americans relies on our God-given rights and the government’s protection - not infringement - of them.
The moment we give up and let politicians and the government trample our rights is the moment this great experiment in democracy has failed.
The integrity of our republic relies upon the voice of people who refuse to back down when things get tough and politics become unbearable.
But the good news is there are a few elected officials and countless activists who continue to stand up for the rights of the people.
Alabama has people like State Rep. Andrew Sorrell, State Sen. Gerald Allen, and activists from the National Association for Gun Rights and BamaCarry who work tirelessly to defend the rights of Alabamians.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Southeast Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.