BY MICAH MESSER
Growing up in the South, I have used firearms ever since I can remember, but I learned so much more while training with the Alabama National Guard and the Columbus Police Department. As a former police officer, one of the critical aspects of my training was firearms; both in the use of and defense against. I also spent time reading, memorizing and understanding firearm laws in the area.
Throughout my time as a police officer, I interacted with many armed individuals and never once had a negative interaction with law-abiding citizens. The only negative interactions I had were with felons, with stolen firearms, using them in conjunction with drug or gang activity. You see, criminals do not care about laws, they will not seek permission from the government to carry a firearm.
Recently, I was aghast to see the Lee County Commission adopt an anti-gun resolution that directly flies in the face of the origins and intent of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Alabama Sheriff Association has fought tooth and nail for many years against Constitutional Carry primarily due to their desire to maintain the tax on its citizens.
The second amendment has been restricted — one may say infringed upon. No free society or free people ought to need to seek permission (a permit) from their local government to exercise a right protected by both the State and the Federal Constitution.
We do not require a permit to speak our mind, nor do we need a permit to address our government, nor do we need a permit to exercise our religion. However, the government requires us to seek permission to carry a firearm in our vehicles or on our person, concealed under our clothes.
I have heard the argument that removing permits hurts public safety or damages the ability of law enforcement to investigate and stop crimes. Let me be clear, I never once used a permit or the lack thereof as an investigative tool when I was a police officer.
Constitutional Carry does not seek to harm public safety or the safety and training of law enforcement. Instead, it aims to remove the unconstitutional barrier against carrying a firearm for low-income and law-abiding citizens.
States that have enacted Constitutional Carry have not seen a rise in violent crime; they have often seen a decrease in violent crime. Most states that have enacted Constitutional Carry have seen the same or even an increase in permit applications.
I understand the need and argument by the Alabama Sheriffs Association for the funding provided by this tax on the citizens they have sworn to serve and protect; if they need funding, the county needs to address this issue without restricting a God-given and Constitutionally protected right of the people.
We the people are tired of being the piggy bank for exercising our God-given rights. The Lee County Commission must rescind this resolution and pass one in its stead that supports Constitutional Carry and they must address any funding needed for the Lee County Sheriff.