Sheriff talks new gun law with Brundidge Rotarians

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pike County is a civilized county.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said that is evidenced by the fact that no pistol packers have emerged since Alabama’s new gun law went into effect Aug. 1.

Thomas was the program guest at the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday and talked candidly with the Rotarians about the new gun law that allows a person to carry a handgun in a holster, without a permit, if it is secured to his or her body.

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“People could be walking the streets with guns strapped to their sides but we haven’t seen that,” Thomas said. “That’s because Pike County is a civilized county.”

Thomas highlighted the new gun law for the Rotarians.

Those 18 years and older can purchase a gun permit and that permit may be purchased for one to five years.

“The law used to say that a gun permit ‘may’ be issued to an 18-year-old,” Thomas said. “The word ‘may’ has now been removed. A permit is issued to carry a handgun concealed on a person or in a vehicle.

“A person may carry a handgun in a vehicle unloaded and in a secured mounted container out of reach of the driver and passengers without a permit. An employee may carry a handgun, rifle or shotgun in his or her automobile onto the employer’s parking area without the approval of the employer.”

Thomas also said that a person may not carry a handgun on property not his own without permission of the owner or if posted as a “no gun zone.”

Thomas was asked if an employer could post a “no gun zone” sign at his parking area and prevent employees from bringing guns onto the parking lot.

“Employers cannot do that,” Thomas said. However, he did say that business owners could post “no gun zone” signs or stickers at their places of businesses.

“A person, who comes in that business with a gun strapped to his or her body, can be asked to leave,” Thomas said. “If they don’t leave, they can be arrested for trespassing.”

The new gun law has left many questions unanswered and is weighted with uncertainty.

Thomas said the state’s new gun law was the biggest issue to come up in his years of law enforcement.

“We fought tooth and nail over it and finally ended up with something that we can live with,” he said.

“I believe in a person’s Second Amendment rights. It is my belief that good will always win out. That may not be in our time but in the time of the Man Upstairs.”