By Sam Cochran

Mobile County Sheriff

Senate Bill 286 was quickly forced through the Senate over the objections of every sheriff in Alabama. It is dangerous, both for police officers and citizens.

This bill denies sheriffs the discretion they now possess to prevent habitual criminals, drug users, violent offenders and mentally ill people from getting concealed carry permits. The bill ties the hands of sheriffs, allowing them to deny permits only when they know that a person will commit a gun crime. That is an impossible standard that will open the floodgates for criminals to obtain pistol permits.

This bill would require sheriffs to issue lifetime permits to anyone without a felony conviction to carry a pistol in a car. When police officers start their shifts, their families are left to wonder if they will come back home safely. If the proposed bill were to pass, their families will have to worry even more, with guns laying about on dashboards and car seats during traffic stops.

Regular drivers will be at more risk from road rage as well.

This law, if passed, will allow teenagers driving cars belonging to lifetime permit holders to carry pistols onto school campuses. Schools would be barred from checking on guns left in vehicles on campuses. Even schools with armed officers would be unable to stop a kid from going to his car to grab a gun.

This bill would even allow pro-choice protestors to carry guns when confronting pro-life advocates, setting up showdowns in front of abortion clinics in Alabama.

The Business Council of Alabama also opposes this bill. Under current law, business owners have the right to set their own policies on guns in the workplace. If this bill passes, employees will be able to show up to work with guns in their cars. Employers will be powerless to protect their workers from disgruntled employees, and they will be subject to more lawsuits in our courts.

Retailers will be put in the position of asking people openly carrying guns to leave when customers complain. That is a terrible burden to place on clerks in retail stores. If this bill passes, it is only a matter of time before a confrontation escalates out of control.

As a conservative, I am a longtime supporter of the Second Amendment. I believe that every law-abiding citizen has a right to carry a concealed pistol. I issued over 38,000 pistol permits last year, more than any single year in the history of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. I denied only a handful of permit applications, and, if you were able to see the records of those I denied, you would sleep better at night.

Please ask your representative in the Alabama House to vote against this reckless gun bill. You can contact your legislators by going to .