Alabama gubernatorial candidate's comment raises questions

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

As a Georgian, I’ve told a lot of Alabama jokes in my day. For me, at least, it’s all in good fun. After all, I have family in Alabama, as well as good friends. Plus, the state is more pro-gun than even my beloved Georgia.

However, as the state’s gubernatorial campaign kicks into gear, one candidate’s comment raises some serious questions.

The National Rifle Association endorsed Gov. Kay Ivey’s re-election during a campaign event at the Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club Monday.

“Today I have the privilege of announcing the NRA’s official endorsement for the re-election of Kay Ivey for the governor of Alabama,” Art Thomm with the NRA said.

Ivey accepted the endorsement, after Thomm noted her recent signing into law of a bill allowing for permitless concealed carry.

Ivey’s Republican challengers, Tim James and Lindy Blanchard, say if they were governor, they would’ve signed that bill, too.

“100%, I am all in on constitutional carry,” Blanchard said.

“Certain rights and authority belongs to the federal government, the rest are reserved to the states, and this is one of them,” James said.

Hold up there, Mr. James. Say what?

Now, this was said in response to gun rights. So let’s look at what he’s saying.

First, the bit about something being for the feds to do and other things going to the states, that’s from the 10th Amendment. Here’s that text:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

OK? Any questions? Good.

The problem with James’ comment, however, is that he’s missing something. In particular, the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates all rights so as to be free from meddling by the states.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

So, when it comes to the Second Amendment, it’s not actually up to the states. That would suggest that California and New Jersey are well within their authority to heavily restrict the right to keep and bear arms within their respective states, and that’s simply not true.

In fact, the McDonald v. Chicago decision hinged on the 14th Amendment’s incorporation of the Second Amendment. Chicago was forbidden from essentially banning guns within the city.

Now, maybe Mr. James simply misspoke. He went on to make plenty of pro-gun noises and it’s entirely likely he just doesn’t have as firm a grasp on gun rights as many of us would like. However, if he’s wanting to be governor of Alabama and wants to count on gun rights advocates rallying behind him, it would behoove him to rectify this hole in his understanding.

The truth of the matter is that, right now, we need a pro-gun GOP more than ever. We cannot afford to let any chink in the armor go unnoticed, which includes people who don’t seem to really understand how the Constitution works with regard to gun rights.

After all, if states can do what they want, it means a Gov. James won’t feel like he needs to worry should he change his mind about gun rights.