Alabama Lawmaker Thinks Gun Control a Winner There

AP Photo/Martha Irvine

As a Georgian, I tell a lot of jokes about Alabama. It’s simply the natural order of things, imparted to me by my father–who, ironically enough, was only born in Georgia because there wasn’t a hospital in Phenix City, Alabama at the time, so my grandparents had to cross the river to Columbus–and it’s always good natured.


Unless UGA and Alabama are playing in college football.

Yet, in truth, the state to my immediate west isn’t all bad. They’re pretty pro-gun, for example, and there doesn’t seem to be as much reason to be concerned with that status quo remaining as there is here.

But one lawmaker figures there is.

In his freshman session, State Rep. Phillip Ensler, D-Montgomery,brought forward a package of gun reform bills.

Most of those bills failed to make it through the Republican-controlled legislature, although at least one bill had some bipartisan support, and Ensler did succeed in securing funding for conflict resolution in Montgomery Public Schools.

HB36 would mirror federal law prohibiting the use of trigger activators, also known as “glock switches,” from being used to turn ordinary guns into automatic weapons.

HB38 would create the Community-Based Violence Prevention Program with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to provide grant funding to local violence prevention programs.

HB48 would gives judges the ability to temporarily suspend a person’s right to possess a firearm as a stop-gap measure to curb gun-related crimes.

“You especially see this in domestic violence cases, someone might threaten to shoot up a workplace, a significant other or loved one,” Ensler said “This gives law enforcement a tool to temporarily address that threat.”


I love how they just gloss over the fact that HB48 is a red flag law. They don’t use the term, in part because it’s politically-charged and not likely to be popular in Alabama, but that’s precisely what he’s pushing there.

And HB36 is really just a repeat of federal law. Still, Ensler is quoted as saying, “This bill would make it a crime to possess a firearm with one of those.” The problem here is that it’s already a crime to possess a firearm with those. It turns them into actual machine guns, which is a crime unless said gun was registered as such. The truth is that those weapons never are and often can’t be registered as full-auto, so yeah, it’s already a crime.

The fact that Ensler seems to be suggesting that it’s somehow legal to walk around with them now means he probably doesn’t understand gun laws all that well in the first place.

As it stands, about the only measure that doesn’t completely suck, based on the brief descriptions we have here, is HB38. That particular measure, depending on what is meant by “ local violence prevention programs,” has the potentiality of yielding some legitimately positive results.

I’ve long advocated for taking an holistic approach to violence prevention via various programs that seek to nudge people onto the straight and narrow path in their overall lives. I’ve also long taken issue with this insane focus on “gun violence” when there are plenty of other forms of violent crime out there and no one feels better about being robbed at knife point as opposed to gun point.


So, depending on the actual text of HB38, that might actually be a viable option, but it’s viable because it’s not gun control.

Alabama isn’t a fan of gun control and that’s not likely to change, even if the odd anti-gunner gets elected to public office.

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