The folks at AlabamaOpenCarry.com are trying to decide which candidates to support in the upcoming election. We are particularly interested in the Attorney General race as it impacts the issue that is the heart of our site: the lawful open carry of firearms.
Open carry (OC) is legal in Alabama. We have Alabama Supreme Court rulings and several Attorney General opinions to back this up. Unfortunately, individual law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and officers (LEOs) don't always respect the right as protected in the Alabama Constitution and supported by the aforementioned rulings and opinions. Montgomery, after an unlawful detention of me, has changed its policy to recognize this right and adapted its LEO training accordingly. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has a long history of supporting OC.
Unfortunately, some LEAs are not so enlightened. Two of our members were arrested in Birmingham for lawful OC. Under Alabama law, they could not be charged with a firearms related offense. However, they were charged with disorderly conduct despite having done nothing but lawfully OC. The charges against one of the two has been dropped. Charges are proceeding against the other.
There was also an incident in Dothan, where one of our members had his firearm and permit seized. They were ultimately returned, but his rights were violated nonetheless. Also, one bullet was missing, without explanation. We can only assume his weapon was fired for ballistic testing, an unlawful search and seizure.
Both candidates in the race have an "A" rating from the NRA and excellent histories with regard to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. However, we at Alabama Open Carry are specifically interested in the stances of both candidates specifically as they apply to OC. We have two very specific questions:
1. Will Luther Strange explicitly affirm the opinions of previous AGs that openly carry of a firearm while on foot is lawful?
2. What affirmative steps will Luther Strange take as AG to stop the unlawful harassment of open carriers by LEAs and LEOs who are unaware of or unwilling to accept both the lawfulness of OC and the fact that its practice is a constitutionally-protected right?
Your answers will be published publicly on AlabamaOpenCarry.com (our State site) and OpenCarry.org (the national site).
Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider this matter.