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Open Carry group looks to expand gun rights(AL)
tuscaloosanews.com ^ | 21 February, 2012 | Robert DeWitt

Posted on 02/21/2012 5:19:43 AM PST by marktwain

TUSCALOOSA | Eddie Fulmer took exception to the City of Tuscaloosa’s ban on firearms on city property.

Alabama’s constitution forbids local governments from enacting gun-control legislation. But in April 2010, the City Council enacted an ordinance that stated anyone carrying a firearm on city property would be treated as a trespasser.

“That’s taking away a man’s right to self-defense,” said Fulmer, a Tuscaloosa firefighter. “That’s the city exercising gun control and taking away our right to self-defense.”

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said that most government facilities and courthouses had “reasonable security measures” in place and that he felt this was one of them.

Fulmer was so angered by the city’s actions that he began researching Alabama’s firearms laws.

“That’s when I discovered that it was legal to openly carry a firearm in Alabama,” he said.

Like most people, Fulmer assumed he could carry a handgun on his person only if he had a concealed weapons permit and that the handgun had to be concealed. But the law says otherwise.

The concealed carry permit allows people to carry a weapon concealed from view, which is otherwise against the law. There is no law against carrying a pistol openly in a holster.

“Laws take away rights and privileges,” Fulmer said. “If there’s no law against it, it’s legal. Alabama and 44 other states allow open carry. Open carry is a right. Concealed carry is a privilege.”

Fulmer has become a local coordinator for Alabama Open Carry, a chapter of a national open carry group. The organization has a website, www.opencarry.org, and Facebook pages for the state and Tuscaloosa organizations.

The Tuscaloosa group meets monthly at the Dreamland BBQ restaurant in Northport to socialize and discuss legislation to secure and expand gun rights. When they meet, they carry handguns openly.

After finding out the law allows it, Fulmer has been carrying his .45 automatic openly on his hip.

“I was scared to death when I first started open carrying,” he said.

He found out that not every police officer knows the law. Fulmer said that he’s been detained and told he had to conceal his weapon. Since then, he’s had conversations with the police chiefs in Tuscaloosa and Northport to make them aware of what state law allows and they have passed the information on to their officers.

He now feels at ease carrying his weapon. People often assume he’s a law enforcement officer.

“I carry everywhere I go,” Fulmer said. “I carry in my bank, I carry in the stores I go in. If I go in a restaurant, I’m carrying.”

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said that he has talked to Fulmer about the right to carry a weapon openly. Anderson agrees that citizens do have that right but there are places, such as schools and some government buildings, where people cannot carry weapons. Business owners can also refuse service to people carrying weapons.

“I don’t agree that people should be allowed to carry a weapon openly,” Anderson said. “I have instructed my officers to challenge anyone they see carrying a weapon openly to make sure that they have the right to carry a weapon. Some people, like felons, cannot carry a weapon. They (people carrying weapons) will be treated with respect and dignity but they will be challenged.”

Fulmer wants people to understand that members of the open carry group conduct themselves safely.

“All of this comes with common sense,” Fulmer said. “When we go someplace like that, we’re not taking our guns out and looking at them. We’re not playing with our guns.”

Even though no permit is required to carry a pistol openly when the person is on foot, a concealed carry permit is required to carry a handgun in a car.

“As long as it’s in your vehicle, they consider it concealed,” said Chaise Billings, a member of the Tuscaloosa Open Carry group.

The group backs proposed legislation that would make it legal for citizens to carry a pistol in a car without a permit.

“We still recommend everybody have a permit,” Fulmer said. “A pistol permit shows you’ve been checked out, and that puts law enforcement at ease.”

Having a permit also ensures that someone doesn’t forget they are openly carrying a weapon when they get in a car. At that point, without a permit, carrying the gun would go from legal to illegal.

“We’re operating with the law and within the law, not outside the law,” Fulmer said.

Fulmer said he believes the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, is the cornerstone of all other freedoms. Without it, citizens have no way to defend other freedoms, he said.

“It’s not all about gun rights,” he said. “It’s about rights in general, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, our religious rights. But to me, all of them hinge on the Second Amendment.”

While some people understand his position, they also question why Fulmer wants to carry a firearm at all times.

“We’re not into intimidation,” Fulmer said. “I want people to know that I care about my safety. I care about my family’s safety. And I take responsibility for it.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: al; banglist; opencarry; preemption
“I don’t agree that people should be allowed to carry a weapon openly,” Anderson said. “I have instructed my officers to challenge anyone they see carrying a weapon openly to make sure that they have the right to carry a weapon. Some people, like felons, cannot carry a weapon. They (people carrying weapons) will be treated with respect and dignity but they will be challenged.”

I do not see any legal reason to stop someone who is openly carrying a firearm in a legal manner, simply because some people are forbidden from doing so.

It is the equivilant to checking everyone wearing a watch to see if it is stolen, because people have stolen watches.

1 posted on 02/21/2012 5:19:50 AM PST by marktwain
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To: marktwain

“Open Carry group looks to expand gun rights(AL)”

Most disingenuous headline of the year.

‘Rights’ cannot be ‘expanded’.

They can only be protected.


2 posted on 02/21/2012 6:03:37 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: marktwain
“I don’t agree that people should be allowed to carry a weapon openly,” Anderson said.

It's a good thing the Founders were wiser than Chief Anderson, huh?

Jerks like this cop are so damn lazy, they want society to be easily divisible into three groups: cops, people who don't have guns, and criminals. That way, the cops can just shoot anybody who has a gun. Open and concealed carry complicate their life, and cause these lazy jack-booted thugs to have to think, which they don't like.

Find me an honorable cop who keeps his oath to defend the Constitution.. These days, they are too hard to find.

3 posted on 02/21/2012 7:41:30 AM PST by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: marktwain
“We still recommend everybody have a permit,” Fulmer said. “A pistol permit shows you’ve been checked out, and that puts law enforcement at ease.”

I guess that's more evidence for my previous statement (below).

Jerks like this cop are so damn lazy, they want society to be easily divisible into three groups: cops, people who don't have guns, and criminals. That way, the cops can just shoot anybody who has a gun. Open and concealed carry complicate their life, and cause these lazy jack-booted thugs to have to think, which they don't like.

Find me an honorable cop who keeps his oath to defend the Constitution.. These days, they are too hard to find.

4 posted on 02/21/2012 7:43:20 AM PST by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: marktwain

Why carry openly and give up the element of surprise?


5 posted on 02/21/2012 8:59:26 PM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Last Dakotan

spent time in a small WY town where carrying openly caused no big comment...and you could go into any business

one ranch hand on the weekends would come into town full western rig complete with tied down sixgun

lived there five years and there was only one murder...LEO shot his gf

but when the ranch hands and oil workers came into town on the weekend, fistfights galore...once in a while someone got a little cut up at the spanish bar

but no murders except that one


6 posted on 02/21/2012 9:18:20 PM PST by AnTiw1
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