Alabama might ban open carry in polling places

Being anti-gun in Alabama is like being a roach in a chicken dance, deadly. So I’m surprised at this reaction.

Strange steps back from guns at polls comments

Attorney General Luther Strange Wednesday appeared to step back from comments made earlier this week that suggested he would support legislation to ban the open carry of firearms at polling places.

Earlier this month, Strange’s office issued an opinion that said communities could not ban individuals from openly carrying firearms from polling places, after a request from the Chambers County Commission. The opinion, citing a 2013 law that greatly expanded open carry in the state, said polling places were not on a list of areas where individuals were specifically banned from openly carrying firearms. However, it noted that some areas where people vote, such as courthouses, fall under that ban.

On Monday, Strange, prompted by questioning from Montgomery County Sheriff D.T. Marshall at an Alabama Sheriffs Association gathering in Orange Beach, appeared to support legislation that would add voting places to a list of areas banned from the open carry law.

“I agree with you,” al.com quoted Strange. “I would support that. … I have no interest in trying to intimidate people in polling places.”

No bill to date has been filed to add polling places to the list of places were open carry is unlawful, and Strange said on Monday any legislation proposed to ban the open carry of guns at polling places would have to pass constitutional muster. The Alabama Sheriffs’ Association has asked for a second opinion, which Strange’s office is preparing. In a statement released Wednesday morning, Strange struck a more neutral tone.

“At this point, we have not seen any proposed legislation regarding the right to carry firearms at polling places,” the statement said. “The Attorney General will only support legislation that is constitutional and does not infringe on the citizens’ right to carry firearms.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Marshall said the state’s sheriffs were “100 percent behind the right to bear arms.”

“However, I still don’t know where it says you have a right to bear it exposed everywhere,” he said. “Maybe I’m missing some wording in there.”

The issue came to fore during the June 3 primary, when several voters around the state attempted to cast ballots while openly displaying firearms. Marshall said it was an issue of safety.

“How would you like your mother to walk next to a complete stranger carrying a gun at a polling place?” he said. “The Second Amendment does not anywhere say you’ve got a right to carry openly anywhere you want to.”

Marshall also said he did not understand why individuals would need to carry guns to vote.

“Why do they have to sell it like, ‘I’m a big man, I have a gun, look at me?'” he said. “There’s no reason they can’t conceal their gun if they go vote.”
Source: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/alabama/2014/08/02/luther-strange-steps-back-from-guns-at-polls-comments/13363251/

So let’s answer some of these comments:

“I would support that. … I have no interest in trying to intimidate people in polling places.”

The Black Panthers standing outside with baseball bats, shouting things to the passerby, is intimidating. A citizen open carrying a handgun or a rifle, minding his own business, not shouting or attacking people verbally, is not intimidating.

“How would you like your mother to walk next to a complete stranger carrying a gun at a polling place?”

You mean like police officers, armed guards at the airport, marines at U.S. consulates, secret service…  Or just the average Joe? My mother doesn’t even own guns, but she wouldn’t care.  She knows that in some parts of the country, open carry is accepted.

“Why do they have to sell it like, ‘I’m a big man, I have a gun, look at me?’

I don’t know, why don’t the cops and military conceal their weapons? Could it be that an unconcealed gun can be used faster than a concealed gun? At least you don’t have to lift your shirt to pull it out. Or perhaps the gun establishes their authority, reminds the people that they’re not just wearing a uniform but have the ability to defend themselves? If so, why should that ability be withheld from the average person? I get the “element of surprise” argument, which is why you have the choice to conceal carry, but how about letting open carriers make their own choice?

“There’s no reason they can’t conceal their gun if they go vote.”

So many people confuse reason with right. There’s no reason for John Doe to become a Scientology, but he has the right to do that if he wants to. Still, I’m sure he wants to hear a reason, so here’s mine: Visible Armed Civilians Promote the Second Amendment.

“The Second Amendment does not anywhere say you’ve got a right to carry openly anywhere you want to.”

Someone has forgotten the “bear” in “right to keep and bear arms.” The First Amendment doesn’t limit religion to churches either. A Christian praying in public may look weird, but he has as much right to look weird as we do to open carry a gun.

So the only reason the oppose open carry is because they’re afraid not just of us, but of themselves. They’re too cowardly to carry a gun and protect themselves, so they disarm everyone else. They’re not that different from the people who cry “hate speech is not free speech” because they’re too sensitive to deal with free speech.

They’re like Obama yelling “stop hatin'” because in liberal land, disagreeing with you is hateful, and compromise means “let me do things my way.”

Open carry is not just part of our 2nd Amendment right, it’s also protected by  the First Amendment. It’s an act of expression, like religion, getting a tattoo, or wearing a T-shirt with words, you’re sending a message, you’re revealing yourself to be a pro-gun civilian.

Here’s an interesting quote from perhaps our greatest president:

Men speak of natural rights, but I challenge any one to show where in nature any rights existed or were recognized until there was established for their declaration and protection a duly promulgated body of corresponding laws.

The message is clear, it’s not enough for the 2nd Amendment to be a natural right, it has to be legislated and exercised publicly.

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