MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG)- In an area with record homicide numbers and almost weekly gun violence, it’s safe to say gun possession is a hot topic. A constitutional carry bill, House Bill, 6 is at the center of the discussion.
“This bill would authorize individuals to carry a pistol or other firearm concealed or in a vehicle without a permit.”
Local representative Shane Stringer backs the bill. He told us when he investigated the bill, he saw it as a constitution right and that permits really aren’t necessary. “If you’re legally allowed to own a gun, I don’t think that you should have to pay the sheriff a gun tax in the form of a permit to carry that gun. Alabama is a open carry state. You can carry that gun on your side anywhere you go, so not a lots going to change with this bill,” Stringer said.
Certain members of law enforcement aren’t on board, including the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. Other states like Texas and Alaska have similar laws. Sheriff Sam Cochran says states who approve a bill like this have seen an 11 percent increase in homicides and 13 percent increase in assaults. “This will endanger our citizens lives, it will endanger our police officers and it will take away a valuable tool from law enforcement. If you want to carry a concealed weapon it is very easy to obtain a permit if you have a relatively clean background,” Cochran said.
The Mobile County District Attorney’s Office feels it will create a disadvantage for them. DA Ashley Rich said the no pistol permit charge is a tool to seize stolen weapons and to help investigations. “We use the no pistol permit tool as a way to hold defendants when they are suspects in a violent crime. Violent felony offenders charged with class A felonies who are out on bond right now, if they are caught with an illegal weapon it needs to be seized and they need to be charged.”
While the bill was introduced into the house today, it could be weeks before any decision is made.