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BamaCarry members rally for gun rights in Prattville

On Saturday, February 24 Second Amendment rights supporters rallied in the city of Prattville for the group's 2024 Freedom Conference. The group has championed permitless carry (or constitutional carry) and other measures to loosen restrictions on gun rights in the state.

State Auditor Andrew Sorrell (R) spoke at length about his four-year fight to pass permitless carry during his service in the Alabama House of Representatives. He and Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Satsuma) were able to pass that legislation in 2022. Largely due to the work of BamaCarry and other gun rights groups, Alabama is one of 26 states where it is not required to have a pistol permit in order to carry a handgun concealed.

"I am excited to come and speak with you at this conference," Sorrell said, "In 2004 (Rep.) Jeremy Oden and (Sen.) Scott Beason were carrying the bill. (Sen.) Gerald Allen and Isaac Whorton carried the bill."

"I am a supporter of the Second Amendment; because it is the right that protects all the others," Sorrell explained.

"No one in Montgomery supported me," in the primary for House of Representatives in 2018 Sorrell said. "I was one of five Republican pickups in the general election."

"When I went to the House of Representatives, I knew I was going to carry Constitutional carry because Isaac Whorton, who had been carrying it (in the House) was elected as a circuit court judge," Sorrell said. "My first year I could only get seven people to cosponsor my bill."

"This was one of my proudest accomplishments in the State House," Sorrell said of he and Stringer's passage of the legislation in 2022.

Ann Eubank is the Chair of the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs – a conservative grassroots group that lobbies the Legislature for conservative causes. She is also a March 5th candidate for the State Board of Education.

"My main focus is on the gambling bill," Eubank said of the 2024 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. "Unfortunately, Republicans don't always act like Republicans."

"We have a corrupt casino bill," Eubank said of the constitutional amendment sponsored by State Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City). "This is nothing but corruption."

Eubank denounced the bill – that has already passed the House of Representatives as "Crony capitalism."

Prominent Baldwin County Attorney Harry Still III also addressed the group.

"The only time I am truly nervous is when these guys are in session," Still said of the State Legislature.

Still warned that Rep. Phillip Engler (D-Montgomery) has introduced a number of pieces of legislation that would infringe on gun rights including a bill to criminalize parts that could, at least in theory, convert a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon. The Biden administration has used executive regulatory power to make the so-called "Glock swich" and other parts illegal. Ensler's bill would incorporate those regulations (which could change after the presidential election) written into the Alabama criminal code.

"I think you will continue to see these kinds of things introduced," Still said. "Keep them from getting to the floor."

Still warned that a proactive legal defense is needed in case you are ever forced to exercise your right to self defense.

"There may be a situation where the district attorney will decline to prosecute," in a self-defense shooting Still warned; but there is still the possibility of a civil suit.

"Get a lawyer immediately – don't wait," Still advised.

Stringer – the former police chief of Satsuma – had been a captain in the Mobile Sheriff's Department until he introduced a permitless carry bill in 2021 and was fired from his position. Stringer said that the sheriffs were so angry about the permitless carry bill and the perception that they would lose some revenue that not only was he fired; but the sheriffs actively tried to prevent him from getting another job in law enforcement.

Following that 2021 session and Stringer's unexpected firing, Stringer's 2022 permitless carry bill did get enacted into law.

"We are so fortunate to still have Shane Stringer still in the House where he can support good gun bills and block bad gun bills," Sorrell said. "The primary voters decided to promote me to state auditor."

Gene Piatkowski urged members of the group to purchase legal protection from the group – where if something goes wrong and you do have to shoot someone that you will be able to afford a legal defense – if necessary.

"You are going to need a lawyer," Piatkowski said. "We like the Self Defense Fund. It is not really insurance it is a contract with a law firm where if you need them they are there."

Piatkowski said that the Self Defense Fund 450,000 members. Plans starting at $12.50 a plan and there is a discount if you are a BamaCarry member.

The group thanked Eddie Fulmer with a plaque for his served as President for 13 years

"It is a joy and a chore

"I can honestly tell you that I got tired of getting stabbed in the back by politicians," Fulmer said.

Despite the challenges Fulmer urged the membership to continue fighting on.

"We are on the side of freedom and liberty," Fulmer said. "It has been a privilege and an honor."

BamaCarry has over 5,000 dues paying members and over 20,000 Alabamians follow the group's social media account.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com

 

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