Lee Co. sheriff and others voice opposition over gun bill

Updated: Mar. 9, 2017 at 9:32 PM CST
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LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The debate is heating up over a controversial bill being considered by the Alabama Senate. The bill would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

In 2016 the Lee County Sheriffs office issued close to 14,000 pistol permits.

Sheriff Jay Jones is just one of those who doesn't want the current law to change.

"It is one of the tools that helps us to arrest people that are on the street, involved in criminal activity, who are using firearms," said Jay Jones, Lee County Sheriff.

Jones is in strong opposition of Senate Bill 24, which would allow people to carry a concealed gun without a permit.

While he fully supports the 2nd amendment it all comes down to one thing for him.

"It is about public safety. Public safety is always first. We are just supporting what is a common sense law on the book that help us to do our job better and protect the community. We most certainly don't want to make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to have fire arms and to protect themselves," said Jones.

The fees charged for a permit have divided many on this issue even though the money brought only goes towards training and education of those who wear the badge. Despite this, those who don't benefit from the funds, like the Auburn Police Department, believe this could create more problems in the future.

"We took over 400 guns from people in 2013. Many of those simply because the person didn't have a permit," said Paul Register, Auburn Police Chief.

There are a number of cases both the Sheriffs office and police department have handled where officers were able to prevent crimes from happening
because of the law in place.

"Every citizen should be legally be able to have a firearm, but there are other persons that shouldn't have them. I liken it to voting. It is our right to vote, but we have to register to do so. I think it is very similar," said Register.

If this bill passes Alabama would join more than 10 states to have already passed this legislation.

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