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Alabama rest area.

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So we traveled through Alabama last weekend, and each rest stop had a no weapons sign, some on the doors, some in the parking lot. I talked to Randy Braden, the guy at ALDOT in charge of rest stops. He disagreed with me that rest stops were not prohibited places. He said their legal department was going to send me a reply that justifies their signs. He couldn't cite the specific law, so I will have to wait for the legal department's reply.

I suspect that someone is willfully misinterpreting the law.

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So we traveled through Alabama last weekend, and each rest stop had a no weapons sign, some on the doors, some in the parking lot. I talked to Randy Braden, the guy at ALDOT in charge of rest stops. He disagreed with me that rest stops were not prohibited places. He said their legal department was going to send me a reply that justifies their signs. He couldn't cite the specific law, so I will have to wait for the legal department's reply.

I suspect that someone is willfully misinterpreting the law.

 

Yeah, HandgunLaw has had the following under 'Bama for I don't know how long:

 

"Note:

AL has posted it Welcome Centers with a notice that firearms are not allowed in the buildings.

RKBA’s Organizations are working on getting these signs removed or finding out under what authority they

are posting them. Use Caution! "

 

- OS

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It is not a crime though to carry on a K-12 or college campus in Alabama with a license, like it is in Tennessee.  You are correct, you can be asked to leave if found out, but you do not risk jail time or huge fines.  That is a huge difference compared to TN where if you get caught with a handgun, even with a license, inside a school you can be arrested and charged with a felony.

Unless you are one of the lawmakers of course. 

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I've stopped at nearly every rest area on 75 and 95 in the south and have never seen the truck stop hookers that everyone always talks about. Is there a special section they hang out it?Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

When I was in college during the early 90's, some friends and I had car trouble on our way down to Florida and stopped at the rest stop in Clanton, AL. The staff at the rest stop were as kind and helpful as they could be in this pre-mobile phone time. They called us a mechanic who looked and talked more like Gomer Pyle than anyone I've seen before or since.

He brought us a replacement water pump and helped us change it on the spot. It was late when we broke down, and it was later when we got everything fixed, so we agreed to stay the night at the Key West Inn - where they gave us the "friends and family" rate so that we wouldn't be deep in Lower Alabama if something else went wrong.

Well, Gomer Pyle follows us to the hotel, makes sure we get squared away, and then proceeds to tell us about all that Clanton has to offer. Mind you, it's well after midnight at his point. He tells us about a couple of all night restaurants that are open. He tells us about a bowling alley and a movie theater somewhere nearby. He then proceeded to take a turn and leave Mayberry in the dust. I'll never forget his next words which were in the same helpful vein and without any judgement. He said, "and if you're looking for some crack cocaine or high school hookers, the Walmart parking lot is where you need to be."

I've driven past Clanton a thousand times since, and can't pass that rest stop without hearing him in my head.
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He then proceeded to take a turn and leave Mayberry in the dust. I'll never forget his next words which were in the same helpful vein and without any judgement. He said, "and if you're looking for some crack cocaine or high school hookers, the Walmart parking lot is where you need to be."

Clanton, AL, Walmart parking lot. Duly noted.

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He said, "and if you're looking for some crack cocaine or high school hookers, the Walmart parking lot is where you need to be."

I've driven past Clanton a thousand times since, and can't pass that rest stop without hearing him in my head.

 

 

So how was the crack and hookers?

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So how was the crack and hookers?

We were but naive church of Christ kids, and poor ones at that. Honestly, we were so shocked by the turn of events that I don't think we could have taken him up in it if we had wanted to.

Funnily, we were on the way to the beach not to long ago, and one of the guys from that trip was in the truck with us. Something or another was left at home, and one of our wives mentioned - after consulting her phone - that there was a Walmart in Clanton and that they were certain to have what we needed. My buddy and I laughed so hard we about had to pull over.

We relayed the whole story. They decided to go somewhere else.
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We were but naive church of Christ kids, and poor ones at that. Honestly, we were so shocked by the turn of events that I don't think we could have taken him up in it if we had wanted to.

Funnily, we were on the way to the beach not to long ago, and one of the guys from that trip was in the truck with us. Something or another was left at home, and one of our wives mentioned - after consulting her phone - that there was a Walmart in Clanton and that they were certain to have what we needed. My buddy and I laughed so hard we about had to pull over.

We relayed the whole story. They decided to go somewhere else.

It'll cross my mind each time I pass that exit from now on! :rofl:

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We were but naive church of Christ kids, and poor ones at that. Honestly, we were so shocked by the turn of events that I don't think we could have taken him up in it if we had wanted to.

Funnily, we were on the way to the beach not to long ago, and one of the guys from that trip was in the truck with us. Something or another was left at home, and one of our wives mentioned - after consulting her phone - that there was a Walmart in Clanton and that they were certain to have what we needed. My buddy and I laughed so hard we about had to pull over.

We relayed the whole story. They decided to go somewhere else.

Reminds me of our inside joke; I was in AIT at Ft Lee VA when we were married.  I had asked my new wife what she wanted to eat, she asked that I go get us some chicken.  Being a Private, and no cars were allowed then (84') I walked over to Churches Chicken.  In route I passed a street walker who yelled out to me, "Hey, where you going?", To get some chicken, I answered.  She goes, "I have your chicken right here baby".  I told the story to my wife who cracked up laughing, since then anytime someone says their going to get some chicken we look at each other and laugh.

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Got a reply from Tom Waits with ALDOT: 

 

 

I am the Assistance Maintenance Bureau Chief for Permits & Operations. One of the responsibilities for this section is the management of the Rest Area and Welcome Centers throughout the State of Alabama. Your emails to ALDOT were referred to this office for response.  Alabama’s Firearms and Weapons law is found in the Alabama Code at Section 13A-11-50, et. seq.

 

Please find attached, section 13A-11-61.2(a) of Alabama’s firearms law, which authorizes a state agency to prohibit firearms in its buildings and premises by rule under its rule-making authority.  ALDOT’s rule prohibiting firearms in all of its buildings and facilities, including rest areas, is attached. 

 

Thank you for your interest and contacting us.

 

 

 

So when I look up section 13A-11-61.2(a), I cannot find the authority that he says is there.  I did find the rule that I think they passed themselves:

 

 

450-3-1-.08 Protection Of And Prevention Of Trespass Upon And Injury To The Public Roads, Bridges, Highways, Facilities And Buildings Of The State Of Alabama

 

...(3)  No person other than a duly authorized law enforcement officer shall enter any Alabama Department of Transportation building with a firearm as defined in Section 13A-8-1(4), Code of Ala. 1975, without the written permission of the Director. Nothing in this regulation is intended to violate an individual’s rights under the Firearm Owners Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §921, et. seq. Author: Jim R. Ippolito, Jr., Chief Counsel Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §23-1-59. History: Filed September 30, 1982. Amended: Filed May 17, 2013; effective June 21, 2013. Amended: Filed July 24, 2014; effective August 28, 2014.

 

 

I can post the entire text of 13A-11-61.2(a) if anyone needs it.  I am not a lawyer, but I think I understand which places are prohibited by the section he references.  Also, note that the ALDOT rule was amended twice, once before people noticed the signs, and once after.  I wonder if that is related?

 

FWIW, I also posted this on GeorgiaPacking.Org under a similar thread to get their opinions.

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FWIW, I also posted this on GeorgiaPacking.Org under a similar thread to get their opinions.

 

I wonder how long it will take the AL state Legislature to put a stop to it?

 

Thanks

Robert

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I wonder how long it will take the AL state Legislature to put a stop to it?

 

Thanks

Robert

 

Well according to handgunlaw.us, Alabama has preemption, but the AG has been ruling that various places that have posted signs seemingly in violation of the preemption are not actual violations.  So either the courts or the legislature may have to spell it out in black and white in order to get compliance.

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Well according to handgunlaw.us, Alabama has preemption, but the AG has been ruling that various places that have posted signs seemingly in violation of the preemption are not actual violations.  So either the courts or the legislature may have to spell it out in black and white in order to get compliance.

 

That is what I am referring to.  If Anti have found some kind of loophole (even if it isn't legit) then it is up the legislature to close the pretend loop hole.

 

Thanks

Robert

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Frankly, I think it is immoral both for the department to abuse the system, i.e., use a loophole, and even if they had the authority to ban guns, to exercise it since we all know it would do absolutely nothing to increase safety at rest stops.

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Frankly, I think it is immoral both for the department to abuse the system, i.e., use a loophole, and even if they had the authority to ban guns, to exercise it since we all know it would do absolutely nothing to increase safety at rest stops.

 

The problem is the Anti actually think they are making things safer.  They actually believe that people are safer is no one other then cop can legally own a gun.  Even if some bad guys get guns they still feel having unarmed targets are better then the risk of having armed good guys running around.

 

Thanks

Robert

Edited by rmiddle

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So after 2 weeks of no response, I called John Cooper, the Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation.  Here is a summary of our conversation:

 

--He thinks the rest areas are safe enough, and thus no one needs to carry a gun there.  I also inferred from his statements that part of the reason to prohibit guns was to keep someone with a gun (presumably a legal carrier) from causing trouble.  He also made a comment about the intimidation factor of guns in rest areas, but did not elaborate.

 

--He reports that others have complained, and the Attorney General is currently reviewing the situation. The ALDOT legal team was in the process of responding to the AG

 

--This is the section that the legal team feels gives them the authority to ban guns:

 

 

( b)Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a person, including a person with a permit issued under Section 13A-11-75(a)(1) or recognized under Section 13A-11-85, may not, without the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises, knowingly possess or carry a firearm inside any building or facility to which access of unauthorized persons and prohibited articles is limited during normal hours of operation by the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features, including, but not limited to, magnetometers, key cards, biometric screening devices, or turnstiles or other physical barriers.

 

--They think the presence of doors and 24-hour attendants fulfill the requirements of the this section, apparently.

 

--He also seemed to indicate that the Governor shared his view.

 

So my analysis is that the legislative intent of the above section could be put simply as this:  buildings with actual security that have the potential ability to keep out illegal guns can also prohibit legal guns.  I do not think the rest area attendants are required guards; I never actually saw an attendant in the ones that I saw.  I also think that "physical barriers" is supposed to be more than an unlocked door.  I believe that ALDOT is liberally interpreting the statute, that they gambled and so far have won.

 

If the AG does not agree with our side and rules there is no pre-emption violation, then the only hope for change is for the legislature to make the law more explicit.

 

I also pointed out to Mr. Cooper that the signs reference "weapons" and not guns, which some could interpret as prohibiting pepper spray and knives.  He admitted that was not their intent, and he would pass that on to the legal team.

 

Edit:  I just found this link, in case anyone else wants to file a petition: http://www.ago.alabama.gov/File-Firearms-Law-Petition

Edited by dawgdoc

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You would be crazy to not carry a gun at a rest stop.  Rest stops are prime places for criminals to try to cause problems with travelers.

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I sent a petition to the AG today, and only later did I finally get a response from the ALDOT legal counsel.  The meat of their argument is this:

 

 

 

As you noted, section 13A-11-61.2(a) which lists six specific places where a person may not possess or carry firearms does not include rest areas.   However, the introduction to of this section states firearms are prohibited  “[i]n addition to any other place limited or prohibited by state or federal law.”   In interpreting this portion of the firearms law, the Attorney General’s office stated that while the firearms legislation was intended to preempt local gun regulation, the legislature also expressly recognized other entities’ statutory authority to regulate and prohibit gun possession.  Ala. Op. Atty. Gen. No. 2014-044, 2014 WL 901443

 

The rest of the email is referencing the code and AG opinions which give them rule-making authority (rules that carry the weight of law).

 

The referenced AG opinion is about a school board that wanted to adopt a weapons policy and were wondering if the law preempted them from doing so.

 

I think they are reaching; the preemption statute clearly indicates to me that the legislature did not want a patchwork of firearms regulation (which is why they name specific prohibited places).  It makes no sense that they don't want the county DMV office banning guns, for example, but are OK with some state office doing the exact same thing.

 

A lawyer could probably hash out more from the email, but this is how I understand it.

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Perhaps some Alabamians need to email their state legislators to let them know that the ALDOT is making laws now.

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Perhaps some Alabamians need to email their state legislators to let them know that the ALDOT is making laws now.

 

I couldn't find mention of this issue on the two Alabama 2A websites to which I visited.

 

If the legal counsel's logic was sound, then every state agency that has rule-making authority (which I presume could range from the Natural Resources to the Health Department) could then make their own laws about guns or anything else in their own little domains.  I would be surprised if the legislature intended for that to happen.

 

So I guess if the AG finds no fault, then the next step is to persuade the legislature to fix the loophole. 

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I'm driving to Atlanta later today.  I'll drive across Tennessee instead of AL after reading this.

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BamaCarry President, Eddie Fulmer is on this, and says for us to be patient. Things are in the works to get this solved. :-)

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