State Representative Fired By Sheriff Over Support For Permitless Carry

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

The sheriff in Mobile County, Alabama has fired a captain in the Sheriff’s Department over his support for Constitutional Carry. Capt. Shane Stringer is also a state representative, and was the primary sponsor of the permitless carry bill introduced in the legislature earlier this year. That apparently angered Sheriff Sam Cochran enough that he terminated Stringer over the legislation.

Cochran notified Stringer on Wednesday that he was being fired as a captain within the department because he sponsored “constitutional carry” gun rights legislation as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives. Cochran also told a Washington County media outlet that the bill to allow Alabamians to carry their handguns concealed without paying an Alabama sheriff for a pistol permit for the privilege was the reason for the personnel decision.

Amazingly, the sheriff isn’t denying the political motivation behind Stringer’s firing, with spokeswoman Lori Myles saying that Stringer was terminated for “different political views held by his administration,” adding that “Stringer’s sponsorship of legislation supportive of constitutional carry ran afoul of the Sheriff’s views.”

Shane Stringer was elected to represent the people of the 102nd House District in Alabama, not his employer, which is something the sheriff apparently doesn’t understand or give a damn about.

Myles said Stringer was appointed as Captain and that he will no longer hold any position within the Sheriff’s Department by the end of the month.

“I think they agreed to disagree,” Myles said of the two. “But when you work for a company, you have to abide by the company’s philosophies and rules especially when you are part of a staff where everyone answers to the Sheriff. We have to be of one accord.”

That’s nonsense. What the sheriff is basically saying is that he should have veto power over any bill that Stringer introduces. If Cochran agrees with it, it’s okay, but if he doesn’t, then his sheriff’s captain either has to back off of his legislation or lose his job, which is exactly what happened here. This is an absolute subversion of the political process, and frankly it would be just as outrageous if a county sheriff fired an employee for sponsoring a gun control bill as it is for Cochran to give Stringer the axe over his support for permitless carry. If the sheriff wants to determine what legislation is introduced by the district’s state representative, he can always run for that office himself. Firing an employee for sponsoring legislation he disagrees with, however, is completely out of bounds.

Cochran and many other sheriffs in the state are opposed to the Constitutional Carry bill introduced by Stringer because their bottom line would be affected if legal gun owners are not required to fork over cash to counties before they can exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Cochran wants to keep the money coming in, but that’s not enough of a reason to let Stringer go, in my opinion.

“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” Stringer said. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”

… “The U.S. Constitution does not say you have a right to keep and bear arms as long as you pay what amounts to a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said. “It says you have the right to keep and carry firearms … period.”

Unfortunately, Alabama law doesn’t allow for recalls of local or state officials, which means that Cochran’s authoritarianism isn’t going to cost him his own job… at least not until elections are held next year. I’d love to see Stringer, who’s also a former police chief, run against Cochran in the Mobile County sheriff’s race, but the state representative hasn’t said what his plans are in 2022.

While voters will have to wait until next year to send Cochran packing, there’s nothing stopping Mobile County residents from sending the sheriff an email or calling his office to express their outrage over the politically motivated firing right now, and I hope his office is overwhelmed by the response from his constituents who will not remain silent about this egregious abuse of power.