The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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State and Nation

April 3, 2014

Handguns-in-cars bill dies in House committee

MONTGOMERY — Members of a legislative committee have shot down a bill to let people carry loaded handguns in their cars without a concealed carry permit.

The House Public Safety Committee didn't advance the bill today after several sheriffs and police chiefs said they were concerned that it could lead to more violence. No lawmaker seconded a motion to approve the bill, meaning it is dead for the session.

"I've seen too much road rage and too many things at the spur of the moment, too many killed and lives ruined because so many people didn't take the time to think before they acted," said retired Auburn chief of police Frank DeGraffenreid.

The law enforcement officers said they believe arrests for failure to have a permit have prevented crimes.

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, said he was disappointed in the result after working on the issue for more than two years.

"I don't think you should have to pay for your 2nd Amendment rights," Beason said.

Alabama law allows people to carry an unloaded handgun in their car without a permit, but the weapon must be unloaded, locked away and out of reach of the driver.

The Gardendale Republican said he thought the potential loss of revenue is what has killed the bill.

"Texas did this as recently as 2007, and they didn't see the big changes that the fear-mongers predicted," Beason said.

"We're one of the few Southern states that doesn't allow this. I'm convinced it's about revenue," Beason said.

Beason offered to change the bill so people could get a lifetime permit to keep a loaded weapon in their vehicle. He said that way people would still have to undergo a background check, but not pay a fee.

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