New law little more than political posturing

Published 3:11 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You may have noticed new signs posted on the doors or in the windows of some of your favorite businesses around town.

The signs don’t boast of a blowout sale or extended store hours.

Instead, the signs inform would-be customers that these businesses do not allow the open carry of firearms inside their establishments.

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The posting of the signs is a reaction to Alabama’s new gun law, which went into effect Aug. 1.

The new law makes it easier for citizens to carry guns, even without a permit, and it makes it clear that carrying a visible pistol, holstered or secured, in a public place does not constitute disorderly conduct.

However, like most laws, one person’s right to openly carry a weapon ends where another’s right to prohibit the open carry of a weapon inside his or her business begins.

And that’s why you may have noticed these signs, provided by the Butler County’s Sheriff’s Office and the Butler County District Attorney’s Office, popping up around town.

Many business owners and the Business Council of Alabama oppose the changes.

While the signs do not allow businesses to prohibit customers with a concealed carry permit from bringing in a concealed weapon, it does allow the business owner to ban someone from openly carrying a gun inside his or her business, and if the notice is ignored, have the violator arrested for trespassing.

Even with the new law in place, guns are still banned from many government buildings, mental health facilities and any facility hosting an athletic event not related to firearms.

While there has been some opposition to the new law from business owners and law enforcement officials across the state, it has been widely supported by lawmakers, Gov. Robert Bentley, the National Rifle Association and many voters who herald it as a victory for Alabamians’ gun rights.

It’s not.

It has little to do with gun rights.

It’s more about political posturing than anything else.

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, the bill’s sponsor, said he really doesn’t expect much to change.

He guesses that a few people may carry a gun openly during the course of the next few weeks, but that eventually the shine will fade off the new law and things will go back to the way they were before the law took effect.

Beason was quoted as saying, “I really don’t see much change at all.”

If that’s the case, the question that begs to be answered is, why did we need the law in the first place?

The obvious answer seems to be that we really didn’t.