What it boils down to is that anyone over the age of 21 can carry a gun with or without a permit. However, a person without a permit can openly carry his gun but has to unload and put the gun into a trunk or an inaccessible place to the driver until he reaches his destination. Then he can reload and carry his weapon. If he has a permit he can carry his gun everywhere.
“What people didn’t realize is that there has never been a law in Alabama that stops you from carrying an open weapon,” McVeigh said. “And as long as you are carrying that gun and not causing a public disturbance or making terrorist threats, then it’s OK.
“What the new law does is say it’s no longer a crime to walk with a gun on your hip. As long as you are just carrying a gun you are not breaking law. Law enforcement is to disregard the presence of a gun. However if that person becomes disruptive or is intoxicated then officers will deal with that person whether they are carrying a gun or not.”
McVeigh said the rights of those who carry pistols do not trump the rights of a business or individual.
“If you have a business and want to avoid someone coming in with a gun then you must put up a sign,” he said. “You have to make them (gun carriers) aware that firearms are prohibited on the property. It is no different than a no trespassing sign. You have to know about it or you get one free pass. It’s also like dog bites … one free pass before they can sue.”
McVeigh also pointed out that Alabama is a “stand your ground” state. This law made the news in the George Zimmerman case in Florida. That means a person who shoots another in an apparent life or death situation may not be prosecuted.
“Let’s say a man in a store sees another man making advances to his wife. They both pull out guns and both are shot. One dies, the other lives. The man who lives could be immune to prosecution if it is self defense,” McVeigh said.
McVeigh added that there are many provisions to the law that he expects it to be challenged in court for years to come.
McVeigh also said that 18 is the legal age to own a firearm and a person must be 21 to have a permit.
“The law says you have to be 18 to own a firearm and we all know that most kids in our state are 14 or 15 when they get their first rifle,” McVeigh said. “My office will not enforce that law.”