The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 22, 2013

Alabama governor signs bill on carrying guns

Associated Press

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's governor has signed legislation that expands where people can carry guns in Alabama.

The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale passed the Legislature Monday, and Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, announced the Republican governor signed it into law Wednesday.

"With Gov. Bentley's signature today, Alabamians' Second Amendment rights are more secure than ever," said House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn.

The new law, pushed by the National Rifle Association, says employees can have firearms in their cars at work, and businesses can't be sued for any harm resulting from the use of those weapons.

Loaded weapons can be carried in cars by anyone with a concealed carry permit. A driver can carry an unloaded weapon, as long as it is out of reach, even without a permit.

Sheriffs must issue a written justification for denying a concealed weapons permit, and the decision can be appealed. Sheriffs have had complete discretion over requests for permits.

The new law keeps the prohibition on carrying weapons in many government buildings and in any public buildings where government bodies like city councils or county commissions are meeting.

The Business Council of Alabama, a major state lobbying group, wanted companies to retain the right to bar employees from keeping guns in their cars while parked in company parking lots. But BCA was successful in getting the provision providing legal protection for companies.