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Is abolishing concealed carry permits a good idea for Alabama? | GARY COSBY JR.

Gary Cosby Jr.
Gary Cosby Jr.

The National Association for Gun Rights is pushing the Alabama Legislature to write a law permitting both open and concealed carry of firearms without a permit.

Alabama is already an open-carry state, but amending the law to allow concealed carry with no permit is a significant step. According to this group, 21 states already allow both open and concealed carrying of firearms without a permit, including our neighbors in Tennessee and Mississippi.

For the vast to overwhelming majority of people, this change in the law would pose no problem and very little added danger because the overwhelming majority of gun owners are responsible citizens. So why is this even an issue? We already have the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution that ensures we have the right to keep and bear arms.

Quoting from the email I received from this group, “Constitutional Carry is the simple concept that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t need to pay a tax and get permission from their sheriff to exercise their God-given right to keep and bear arms.”

I laughed aloud when I read this email. Who knew God had given us the right to own guns? I mean, chapter and verse, please. God didn’t have anything to do with the U.S. Constitution, no matter how hard you want to try to do the mental gymnastics to say so. The Constitution is a creation of mankind, period. It is a great document, but it isn’t the Holy Scriptures, nor is it divinely inspired, so let’s back off of that bit of hyperbole.

And therein lies one of the principle bits of propaganda you will see in regards to many issues in the political arena. God is not into politics, nor politicians, nor even the political entities we call nations except, perhaps, the nation of Israel, the only group of people he ever promised a piece of land to call their own.

American politicians today, and probably for all the time we have been a nation, have tried to co-opt God to make him on the side of one political party or another or to have God endorse some act the nation was attempting to do on the domestic or world stage. Here is a free tip: You can be on God’s side by doing the work of God’s kingdom, but don’t believe for a minute you can bring God onto your side to endorse the works of man. It doesn’t work that way.

Now, sermon over, back to the idea of a constitutional carry bill for Alabama. Why? The email I cited earlier says it is to avoid paying a tax for something that is already a constitutional right. OK, that’s a fairly legitimate argument, but let’s look at it for a moment.

We pay taxes for things we call rights all the time. For instance, who doesn’t view it as their right to drive a car? Granted, it is not an enumerated right in the Constitution, but just let the government try to take it away from you and see what the first argument becomes. We pay a licensing fee and have to pass a test in order to drive a car, an act so fatal it just about doubles the number of homicides in the state every year. And why do we allow ourselves to be tested and licensed by a governing body?

That’s right, it’s a public safety issue. As you drive around Alabama, you want to know the other drivers on the road have at least been trained to do so and have passed a driver’s test and been granted a license. Those license fees help support law enforcement officers charged with keeping the roads safe and to, hopefully, pass laws governing the safe use of the highways.

Applying the same logic to guns would seem to make good sense, especially from a public safety point of view. Having unlicensed concealed carry also adds another layer of danger to the job our police officers do.

Did you know Alabama has a high homicide rate? The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics shows our state has a homicide rate of 9.6 persons per 1,000. That’s an absurdly high rate, though the actual number of homicides amounted to 433 people for the reporting year.

California has a population of 39.5 million compared to Alabama’s 4.9 million but has a lower homicide rate of 6.9 persons per 1,000. Of course, their total number of homicides is higher because of their much higher state population.

So politicians in Alabama are being pushed to open the door so almost anyone can legally carry a concealed handgun. I wouldn’t really have any problem with this bill if everyone carrying a gun did so responsibly and was properly trained in its use, but the truth is just the opposite. Opening the door to unrestricted concealed carry seems like a bad idea.

Gary Cosby Jr. is photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at gary.cosby@tuscaloosanews.com.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Is abolishing concealed carry permits bad for Alabama? | GARY COSBY JR.