Walker County Sheriff Criticizes New Alabama Gun Bill
Last Thursday, the Alabama State Senate passed a bill titled SB 308, which will set legislation in place for lifetime carry permits and a “firearms prohibited person database” to be created.
Some West Alabama sheriff's departments and gun groups are upset, as this bill will divert some of the money raised by permit sales away from police operations to the federal government.
As it stands today, sheriff's offices receive 100% of the funds raised by selling lifetime carry permits. Under the new bill, 20 cents of every dollar will go to the state.
Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith took to Facebook to voice his complaints, which he feels the public should be aware of and concerned about. The post went semi-viral, being shared more than 800 times on the social network.
“It allows the state to now take 20% of the revenue generated by those permit sales, which for small counties like ours, means that people will be out of a job and important services and programs we offer will cease,” Smith said.
The bill was brought to the Senate floor by Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, who argued the bill is a positive step forward in gun regulation.
“Any Alabamian who can legally purchase a handgun should be able to obtain a lifetime concealed carry permit, but bad actors and individuals deemed prohibited from obtaining this permit should be registered and flagged as such,” Price said in a statement.
In regards to the new prohibited firearm database, Price claimed the bill will institute a more uniform information index.
"The new database would consolidate all the information that is currently managed by counties into one system, creating a unified process by which normal citizens can obtain a lifetime permit," Price said.
Smith, however, disagreed.
“What I believe it establishes is a way for the state to have access to the personal information of law-abiding gun owners in every county of Alabama, which is a slippery slope,” Smith said.
According to Eddie Fulmer of Bama Carry Inc., a nonprofit gun rights group with branches across the state, permit sales make up about a $20 million revenue stream directly for the sheriff departments.
“You can see why they’d be upset,” Fulmer said.
For better or worse, the bill is now live in Alabama.