MOBILE COUNTY, AL – A captain from the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department, who is also an Alabama State House member, was reportedly relieved from his role within the Sheriff’s Department reportedly for a difference in political views between this captain and the sheriff.
Reports suggest that this termination stems from the sheriff’s captain supporting constitutional carry in his efforts related to serving in the Alabama State House.
State lawmaker loses his captains position with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department over political differences. https://t.co/lCZZUsNXyW
— John Sharp (@JohnSharp99) May 14, 2021
According to Lori Myles, a spokesperson for Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, state Rep. Shane Stringer is “no longer a captain within the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.”
The spokesperson for the sheriff’s office simply noted that Sheriff Cochran came to the decision on May 12th due to a difference in political opinions:
“Sheriff Sam Cochran made the decisions Wednesday, May 12, because of different political views held by his administration.”
Rep. Stringer happened to have joined the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department in 2018, which was the same year that he managed to get elected to the State House.
Myles was said to have later clarified the decision to terminate Rep. Stringer, noting that Rep. Stringer’s sponsorship of legislation that supports constitutional carrying of firearms is juxtaposed with Sheriff Cochran’s positions on the matter.
— H24 News US (@h24news_us) May 16, 2021
Under this constitutional carry proposal, residents in Alabama would be allowed to carry a concealed firearm without having to get their hands on any type of permit, or pay any type of fee for one.
Apparently, this measure is not supported by local law enforcement, with Sheriff’s Association representative Randy Hillman citing public safety concerns:
“Permits make people safer…there is documented evidence these pistol permits save lives.”
While those could be legitimate concerns, it also turns out that 80% of the revenue accrued from these permits wind up going right back to the sheriff’s office where the permit is purchased, according to reports:
“Under the recently-approved lifetime permit legislation, 80 percent of the revenue from the cost of a permit would be funneled back into the sheriff’s office where the permit is bought. The new lifetime permits cost $300, or $150 for people 60 and older.”
— AL.com (@aldotcom) April 28, 2021
One of the sponsors of the constitutional carry proposal, state Rep. Andrew Sorrell, sympathizes with any sheriff’s department that is concerned about potential loss of funding, but he doesn’t think a law enforcement agency should be funded “by selling people’s constitutional rights back”:
“We 100 percent support funding the sheriffs. We just don’t support in doing it by selling people’s constitutional rights back.”
As for the recent termination of Rep. Stringer from the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department, he stated that he is “proud to stand in defense of the Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians despite being fired by Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran for his position on the issue.”
The state representative proclaimed that the gun rights of Alabama residents “are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control,” also noting that there are forces at work within the state of Alabama trying to do the same thing.
Even though Rep. Stringer is proud to stand by his position, he also called it “certainly surprising” to be relieved from his duties by Sheriff Cochran – who is also a Republican – after dedicating his “life and career to law enforcement”:
“After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”
Much like his colleague Rep. Sorrell, Rep. Stringer says that there’s nothing within the U.S. Constitution that denotes the Second Amendment is contingent upon paying a tax to exercise it:
“The U.S. Constitution does not say you have a right to keep and bear arms as long as you pay what amounts to a gun tax in the form of permit fees. It says you have the right to keep and carry firearms…period.”
Sheriff Cochran’s spokesperson likened the dismissal of Rep. Stringer to a company that fires someone for failing to adhere to a company’s philosophy or set of rules:
“I think they agreed to disagree… But when you work for a company, you have to abide by the company’s philosophies and rules especially when you are part of a staff where everyone answers to the Sheriff. We have to be of one accord.”
According to the sheriff’s office, Rep. Stringer will be formally separated from the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department by the end of May.
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In other news related to Constitutional carry laws, we at Law Enforcement Today reported back in April that the state of Iowa joined the ranks of states allowing said form of firearm carrying.
Here’s that previous report.
DES MOINES, IA – Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) signed House File 756 into law in April eliminating a requirement that Iowans obtain a permit to acquire or carry handguns. Iowa joins 18 states with similar “constitutional carry” laws.
— The Iowa Torch (@IowaTorch) April 2, 2021
Governor Reynolds said the new law will protect the Second Amendment:
“Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals.”
The Governor said the law will help protect law-abiding citizens:
“(The new law takes) greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”
Iowa law enforcement opposes House File 756 to make permits to buy or carry guns optional.
“If you take [the permit system] away, it makes it more difficult to verify if they should be carrying that gun.”
Urge Gov. Reynolds (515-281-5211): Veto HF756.https://t.co/Q6ti3PNCVG
— Rob Hogg (@SenatorRobHogg) March 31, 2021
The law takes effect on July 1 and will give Iowans the right to purchase and carry concealed handguns without a permit issued by the Sheriff’s departments. The new law also shifts the burden of background checks from the purchaser to the gun dealers.
Current Iowa law requires anyone who wants to purchase or carry a firearm must receive a license from their county Sheriff’s office.
Before issuing the permit, the office must run a check on the applicant using the federal government’s database of persons excluded from owning firearms. If the person passes, they receive a permit valid for five years.
State Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), H.F. 756’s floor manager, said the new law ends a flawed system:
“This bill fundamentally changes the relationship between the state government and our citizens. Currently, whether we want to admit it or not, our system of permits is one of mistrust. That means you can exercise a fundamental right, but you must prove yourself not guilty in advance.
“That is not how America is supposed to work and I’m not happy with the way our federal government is moving right now. But I know it’s not the way Iowa works and we’re going to deal with that now.
“After House File 756, the honest citizen is free from government intrusion in this aspect of their lives. Those who prove themselves not worthy through their own actions, however, will see their penalties increase. This is the proper role and word of government.”
Support for the new law ran mostly along party lines, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposed. Democrats had called on Gov. Reynold to veto the law. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls (D-Coralville), said:
“A person could be able to purchase a firearm from a private seller with no background check and then carry that firearm anywhere in public without any type of firearms proficiency training if this bill is adopted.
“We must do more than just pray for those victims and their families, and we must do more to honor their memories than just fly the flags at half-staff. We have to do everything that we can to prevent this senseless violence in the future.”
— AmmoSeek.com (@AmmoSeek) April 3, 2021
Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufman expressed his support for the Governor signing the new bill into law in a tweet, saying the Democrats were spreading false information:
“Despite the misinformation pushed by Democrats and coastal interest groups, today is a great day for law-abiding gun owners of this state. (The law will) strengthening Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens of this state.”
There is only one party committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of Iowans and that’s the Republican Party.
— Jeff Kaufmann (@kaufmannGOP) April 2, 2021
In addition to allowing citizens to purchase and carry handguns without obtaining a permit, the new law also requires courts to report to a state law enforcement when someone is determined to be ineligible to possess a firearm for mental health reasons. This is in addition to the required federal background check.
The new law makes it a felony for any person to sell a firearm to a buyer they “know or reasonably should know” is not legally permitted to own one.
The new law allows off-duty law enforcement officers and reserve officers to carry guns on school property. Currently, only on-duty officers can do so.
The National Rifle Association was quick to praise the Governor for signing the bill:
“NRA applauds Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for signing House File 756, NRA-backed legislation that allows law-abiding adults to carry a concealed firearm without first asking the government’s permission for a permit.”
NRA applauds Iowa Gov. @KimReynoldsIA for signing House File 756, NRA-backed legislation that allows law-abiding adults to carry a concealed firearm without first asking the government’s permission for a permit.
— NRA (@NRA) April 2, 2021
The new law makes it optional for Iowans to obtain a permit to carry or a permit to acquire handguns. If they choose not to get a permit, citizens must pass a background check when buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer.
Many Iowans are expected to still apply for permits so they can carry their weapons out of state. In all, 36 states and territories, including Iowa, either recognize Iowa’s permits or do not require permits to carry firearms.
Iowa Gun Owners
Congratulations Iowa! So glad ya got your Constitutional Carry bill signed into law today! pic.twitter.com/Cgeb2eNmjY
— Linda Thompson (@LindaTh27168341) April 3, 2021
The Governor also signed a law limiting the types of lawsuits that can be filed against gun and ammunition manufacturers.
This law will prevent lawsuits related to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms and firearms accessories. The law does allow lawsuits to be brought in cases of breach of contract or where a gun or accessory was defective.
The other 18 states that allow constitutional carry are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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Author: Gregory Hoyt
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