Supporting the sheriffs: Beason’s bill would hamper public safety in Alabama
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Apr 30, 2013 | 3795 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this 2011 file photo, State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, speaks during a rally by the Rainy Day Patriots in support of the controversial Alabama Immigration Law in Hoover. Beason was the sponsor of the legislation. Photo: The Birmingham News, Mark Almond/The Associated Press
In this 2011 file photo, State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, speaks during a rally by the Rainy Day Patriots in support of the controversial Alabama Immigration Law in Hoover. Beason was the sponsor of the legislation. Photo: The Birmingham News, Mark Almond/The Associated Press
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The culture clash that marked (and marred) the 1960s was often distilled into the opinion that one side and the other had of law enforcement.

To the anti-establishment crowd, police were “pigs.”

To the establishment, police were symbols of order and responsibility, the only thing standing between themselves and chaos.

So the phrase “Support Your Local Police” became a mantra and a bumper sticker for those who wanted a secure and peaceful society. The notion that those holding political power would oppose law enforcement officials was absurd.

Well, times have changed. In Montgomery, home to the Alabama Legislature, absurdity may win.

At the state Capitol, a bill authored by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, is being opposed by the Alabama Sheriffs Association as well as by business groups around the state. There’s a reason why Beason is the poster boy for bad legislation.

Beason’s bill will make it easier for individuals to carry firearms in public, in cars and in workplace parking lots. (For what it’s worth, it’s interesting that on Tuesday the state Senate passed legislation that tells the federal government to back off of any additional gun-control laws.)

The opposition points out, accurately, that more guns in these places will mean more gun-related violence. Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson, president of the National Sheriffs Association, has written an op-ed for The Star against the bill. Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith, representing the Alabama Sheriffs Association, puts it plainly. The bill “is rife with issues that affect public safety.” This is not about gun ownership; it is about gun visibility and availability. “You can’t commit a drive-by shooting with a pistol in your home,” Smith said. However, “you can with one in your car.”

Are legislators listening? Will Alabama legislators support their local sheriffs in their efforts to protect the public, or will they pass a half-baked Beason bill and pat themselves on the back for supporting Second Amendment rights that were not in jeopardy in the first place?

In other words, we wonder if legislators support their local sheriffs and other law enforcement officials, or if absurdity will carry the day.
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