Sheriff, circuit judge weigh in on effects of state’s new gun legislationPublished 11:01am Monday, September 16, 2013
The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum that gave local business owners a chance to find out how Alabama’s new firearms legislation affects them.
The chamber hosted an Eggs and Issues breakfast Friday at First Baptist Church, as community members and business were able to ask about the Alabama gun laws.
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett and Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Tom Young fielded questions and detailed changes to the application process for firearms, background checks and open-carry laws is it relates to businesses and private property.
“We always encourage people to get a carry-conceal permit. Then you are also able to do all the things such as carry in your vehicle and go to functions,” Abbett said. “The signs posted outside places about carry-conceal, you can not carry a gun in. Those are some of the things we ask people to do. One of the other things is we changed our application, and the application goes through several steps.”
Abbett highlighted how during the gun permit application process, sheriffs run applicants through national and state crime system background checks, as well as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
Young detailed to businesses the laws relating to employees having firearms on company property, as well as whether the business is liable for any incidents that occur.
“An employee is allowed to carry a weapon in his or her car on the business premises, provided they meet certain criteria, and I would advise you go look at those criteria,” Young said. “They have to have the weapon secure among other things. But if, for example, that employee is fired that day and comes back in the business firing a weapon, then that business is not liable for the damage that is done.”
Young added that businesses should also research section five of the act, which focuses on liability.
“A business owner is not liable for specific acts by somebody unless they had some opportunity to know about it, prevent it or put things in place that would prevent it,” Young said. “Now if a business owner does not choose to prohibit an open carry, that’s a different ball game.”
Chamber director Ann Rye said the chamber believed it was important to host an event like this to help businesses understand how the new law affects them and their customers.
“I think it’s very important for the chamber to do things that are educational to our business owners,” Rye said. “I think one of the worst things we can do as business owners is not be educated about what’s going on around us. So many of us engage with the public and want them in our businesses, but it is important to see this issue for all sides of how it can affect your business and the comfort of customers and employees.”
Abbett added that anyone with further questions regarding the new law can contact their local law enforcement agency any time.