Call it The Beason Syndrome. One of the principal architects of Alabama’s infernal anti-illegal immigration law also is the sponsor of Alabama’s new gun law, which has become just as infernal of a headache for school administrators and business owners across the state.
Case in point: Tommy Bice, the superintendent of Alabama’s public schools.
Traditionally in early August, Bice would be swamped with preparations for the beginning of the school year. The pace is hectic and intense. This week, however, the superintendent had to craft a letter to city and county school officials telling them, despite the Beason-sponsored bill that is now law, that policies prohibiting firearms on campus remain in effect.
In other words, ignore Alabama’s new gun law.
The law allows permitted gun owners to openly carry their weapons in public places, with exceptions, and on private land with the land-owner’s consent. Beason, R-Gardendale, has repeatedly told reporters that his goal is to allow lawful gun owners to be able to defend themselves. But administrators at college campuses and public and private schools hardly seem eager to have gun-toting patrons, students or employees as an everyday occurrence.
In Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama officials have told the Associated Press that its current policies against firearms on campus remain in effect. The Alabama Community College System hasn’t altered its policy against unauthorized firearms on campus, either. Similar stories exist across the state.
Like the aforementioned immigration law, this Beason-inspired gun legislation is an albatross swinging heavily from the necks of countless administrators and officials in our state. Gun-ownership laws in Alabama, open-carry and concealed-carry especially, are already confusing. This has only made it worse.
At its core, Beason’s law is a radical reaction to the farcical notion that America’s gun-ownership rights are being limited after the rash of massacres at places such as Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. Having a White House and U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats has only stoked that needless fear.
What America needs is responsible gun-ownership laws that keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with serious criminal records. The Newtown shooter had 1,600 rounds of ammunition, according to authorities. Preventing that kind of stockpile in the wrong hands is more important than laws that create migraines for school administrators who shouldn’t have to waste their time with a legislator thinking it’s OK for guns to be on school grounds.