AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Alabama House Approves Gun Control Measure

The state of Alabama tends to be viewed as pretty pro-gun, and for perfectly valid reasons. Among others, they’re a constitutional carry state. That tends to run along the lines of there being little to no state gun control.

As such, the state’s native anti-gun jihadists tend to have a lot of disappointment in their lives.

But right now, they have something to celebrate. It seems the Alabama House has passed a gun control measure.

Yes, really.

The House passed HB36 Tuesday, which would criminalize the possession of any parts that convert firearms into machine guns. The bill passed by a vote of 60 to 38.
Authored by Rep. Phillip Ensler, D-Montgomery, the bill defines a machine gun as “any firearm that shoots, is designed or intended to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot more than one shot automatically without manual reloading and by a single function of the trigger.”
Upon first violation of the bill, a person would be subject to a minimum of 100 hours of community service. A second or subsequent violation would be considered a Class C felony. The legislation would not apply to state or local law enforcement officers acting under the law, or to machine guns owned legally under federal law.
“I’ve heard from law enforcement all throughout the state how much of a need there is for this,” Ensler said on the House floor. “The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Fraternal Order of Police, district attorneys and the sheriffs all wholeheartedly endorse and support this bill. So, this is opportunity to support them in the work that they do.”
Ensler spoke about Glock switches, also known as trigger activators, which would be banned upon the bill’s signing into law. Currently a person can be charged with possession of a trigger activator at the federal level, but there is no crime for possession or use of the part at the state level.
“I don’t see this as a Second Amendment issue because I do fully support the Second Amendment, but I also fully support your deal because this is a public safety issue. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This has nothing to do with race in our state,” said Rep. Russell Bedsole, R-Alabaster, on the House floor.

So basically, it doesn’t prohibit anything currently lawful in Alabama. That’s the good news. It just mimics federal law so local DAs can prosecute people for having these devices. It also allows a certain degree of charge stacking, where people can catch state charges and federal charges, all without running afoul of double jeopardy.

It’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world.

Yet I also have some concerns here. The Alabama House is heavily Republican. Nearly three-quarters of the House is GOP, which means a lot of Republicans voted for a gun control measure.

Let’s couple that with the story our own Cam Edwards wrote earlier this week about an Alabama Republican seeking to repeal constitutional carry.

Are Alabama Republicans sliding toward an anti-gun mentality? 

In fairness, it’s not just Republicans in Alabama that have jumped on that apple cart. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a similar bill to the one just passed in the Alabama House.

It seems that Republicans need to remember that pro-gun means pro-gun. It doesn’t mean “pro-gun but…”

It also seems we have a lot of work to do.

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