Let’s be real, when people say “It’s not about the money,” chances are it’s really about the money.
Case in point, the Alabama Sheriffs Association opposition to SB24, a Constitutional Carry bill that would allow one to carry a concealed firearm without having to pay a fee and obtain a permit.
Publicly, sheriffs argue that doing away with the permit system would jeopardize both the safety of the public and that of sworn officers. But really, it’s about the money, specifically their permit fund.
“In my opinion and the opinion of most law enforcement officials and agencies, this is bad legislation due to the fact it adds additional danger to law enforcement officers performing their duty of protecting and serving the general public,” said Monroe County Sheriff Thomas Tate in an interview with The Monroe Journal.
Likewise, Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas told The Troy Messenger, “We’re always going to put public safety first and there’s a lot of concern about individuals being able to carry guns without background checks.”
Right. The worry is about people carrying guns without background checks. Hmmm… What a bunch of claptrap! Four quick reasons why it’s a load of B.S.
- In Alabama a background check is required at the point-of-sale when one purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer.
- Aside from in a vehicle, open carry without a permit is legal in Alabama. In other words, any lawful citizen can already carry a firearm without having to undergo another background check.
- Speaking of law-abiding citizens, they’re not the problem here! Criminals are the problem. You know, bad guy with guns. But they, as we all know, will carry concealed firearms irrespective of what the law says. Moreover, given their criminal history, they are already banned from merely possessing, let alone, carrying firearms in the first place.
- As many as twelve states have passed Constitutional Carry laws and, thus far, not one has descended into chaos and disorder. Not one.
The Sheriffs opposition to SB24 is, as mentioned, only about one thing: the money. In a private email obtained by AL.com, the money motive was made abundantly clear by Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Bobby Timmons, who told members to contact their local legislators and to tell them to oppose SB24 “if you value your permit fund.”
Timmons went on to say that they should also oppose any attempt at a compromise version of the bill that would benefit law-abiding gun owners.
“The National Rifle Association WILL return next time the Legislature meets to bring back Jabo [Waggoner’s] ‘any county bill’ and will push for uniform — one cost — statewide permit fee…if any fee at all!” wrote Timmons.
Yes, it’s about their precious permit fund. That’s why ASA opposes SB 24.
Now, where does that revenue go? What is that permit fund used for?
Chief Deputy David Jernigan of Madison County said that it is used for the “betterment of law enforcement.”
“There’s been a lot of misconception about where does the money go,” Jernigan said in a Feb. interview with AL.com. “I’ve heard over the last several days, the money goes in the sheriff’s pocket, I’ve heard it’s a slush fund.
“We take in close to $700,000 a year in pistol permits. That money, by local legislative action, is for the betterment of law enforcement in Madison County. It is subject to state audit. It has been audited in the past and it continues to be audited to make sure we are spending the money in the best interests of our communities.”
Specifically, Jernigan said the money is spent on new vehicles, police training, and new technology such as radios, body cameras, laptop computers, and tasers.
“Without technology, you’re almost going back 20 years to a deputy who just has the basics,” Jernigan said. “I really feel this community wants a professionally trained and a professionally equipped law enforcement agency to go out and protect the public.”
Okay, while that may be true that a community wants their boys in blue to have the best equipment available, isn’t it also true that the community should have a say on whether that financial burden should fall on the backs of those who wish to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms?
There’s also some irony here in that concealed carriers have the potential to actually increase public safety thus making law enforcement’s job easier. Why would the ASA actually want to keep a permit system that inhibits more responsible people from carrying firearms for self-defense?
Those seem like reasonable questions to me.
Look, I understand that municipal budgets are being cut left and right around the country and a lot of the time police departments take the brunt of that loss in funding, but it doesn’t seem right for the ASA to oppose a bill that would restore the 2A rights of law-abiding gun owners (as the founders intended) merely because it hits the Sheriffs’ discretionary fund for new gadgets and gear.
What’s more is the ASA should be honest about its opposition to the legislation. Don’t cry “officer safety” or “public safety” when there is virtually no evidence to suggest that Constitutional Carry hurts either. Tell the public the truth. You want money for new stuff. Honesty is always the best policy. That holds true for law enforcement as well.