Public hearing on proposed gun bill - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Public hearing on proposed gun bill

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A proposed gun bill had people packed into a public hearing at the state house Tuesday morning.

Lawmakers, sheriffs, business leaders and more all wanted to weigh in on Senate Bill 286.  This gun bill would allow an individual to carry a pistol in a vehicle, without a concealed carry permit.  That vehicle also could be parked on an employer's lot.

The majority of those who spoke at a public hearing don't want the 40 page bill to pass as it now stands.

Even proponents admit the bill needs tweaking.

"I do not believe this bill, as is could pass the House. There's either going to be a lot of amendments or a substitute bill that will be offered," says state representative Ed Henry.

Henry is a sponsor of House Bill 570, a similar gun bill in to SB 286. He says, the bill will need to be changed if it is to stand a chance of passage.

"There's are some things in there that law enforcement is concerned about, there are things the District Attorney's association is concerned about, and there's a large concern from the business community, because they believe this is a violation of their property rights."

Alison Howell, vice president of public policy for the Birmingham Business Alliance spoke during the public hearing.

"The bill as written is not acceptable to the business community," says Howell. "It impedes on the employer's ability to protect their employees, and the right to actually set policy to ensure a safe workplace."

Representatives from several law enforcement agencies filled the room all opposed to the bill.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones is concerned it would allow criminals to carry concealed weapons in their car. He agrees changes need to be made.

"To ensure a way to address the issues that everyone is concerned about in regard to the second amendment, but not in the form that (SB) 286 has taken," says Jones.

The bill, in some fashion, is set to go before a senate vote at 3:00pm Wednesday in Montgomery.

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