Debunking a myth: NRA and bill sponsors weigh in on fear of “gun registry” in pending legislation

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Second Amendment gun

Several weeks ago, legislation was filed in both the house and senate to change the way that the state of Alabama handles concealed carry permit licenses. The bill allows the state department of law enforcement rather than each of the 67 sheriffs offices to process concealed carry permits and allows for the creation of a lifetime permit. 

Senator Randy Price and Representative Proncey Robertson filed HB 39 and SB 47 in their respective chambers. According to their press release at the time of the bills filing their legislation “will establish a cohesive and statewide management level process for administering and managing concealed weapons permits in the state of Alabama.” 

When the bill was filed, Art Thomm the Alabama State Director of the NRA told Alabama Today, “The NRA strongly supports this streamlined permitting process. Not only would it bring much-needed 21st century technology to Alabama’s antiquated system, but it would be the first time law-abiding Alabamians were given the option for a lifetime concealed carry permit.”

Since then gun owners have raised questions about the law creating what gun owners call a defacto gun registry. A concern that both the House bill sponsor and NRA addressed. 

In an emphatic statement Robertson said, “This bill WILL NOT collect or share any additional personal information than is currently collected or can be shared when you purchase a concealed carry permit. There is absolutely NO information collected about what weapons you have or what weapon you plan to carry with the permit.  If someone is trying to call this a gun registration they should be calling the current system a gun registration because the process and information you will provide does not change. The only thing this bill does differently is put the information in one system rather than 67 different systems. This brings consistency to the information and process across the state and allows Law Enforcement Officers to see if a person has a “Valid Concealed Carry permit” or if the court has reported to the system that they are “prohibited to purchase a concealed carry permit“.  As far as the permit holders information being share that is done now. But the officers have to call from county to county and asked for the information over the phone or radio. What they can’t do is know who the prohibited persons are. Because that information is not being collected or shared from the current 67 different systems.”
 
Todd Adkins, the Director of NRA’s state and local division echoed that sentiment saying, “The bill doesn’t change current law — the personal information of permittees is protected from public disclosure.”
 
A look at the statute confirms that this is, in fact, the case. Here is the language as found on Page 22 of the proposed bill:

In the House the bill has been read once and referred to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. 

In the Senate the bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee

Adkins of the NRA said, “The NRA fully supports the Lifetime Carry Bill and will continue to activate our members and supporters to help win passage of this critical legislation.”