Regulatory policy

Alabama AG and DCNR seek stay in lawsuit over written permission to carry firearms policy in state parks

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Commissioner Chris Blankenship asked the U.S. District Court for the Intermediate District of Alabama to delay the decision to a lawsuit against Alabama’s policy of written permission for firearms in state parks until their new plan. is implemented in March.

The state park’s written permission requirement was recently the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by Alabama native and Mississippi resident William Lee Mitchum against Blankenship and Marshall. Mitchum said a Meaher State Park official denied his Second Amendment right to possess a firearm in “immediate self-defense” in July, according to his lawsuit filed Oct. 14.

In the state’s motion filed Monday, attorneys for Blankenship and Marshall wrote that DCNR will “cease to enforce” the Alabama State Parks rule requiring written permission to carry a firearm on state park properties in early 2023.

“In March of this year, the Alabama Legislature passed [constitutional carry], which changed numerous firearms provisions in the Alabama code,” the motion reads. “Relevant here, the law ‘eliminates[d] the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit to legally carry a gun. When the law comes into effect on January 1, 2023, the department will stop enforcing the authorizing wording of the rule. At the end of March, the Ministry began the process of updating its rules and regulations in light of the Act. On November 17, 2022, the Department submitted a “Notice of Intended Action” to change the rule. »

According to motion to stay, amendment to state park firearms policy allows legally authorized persons to carry handguns without authorization, allows persons housed in a state park to possess firearms if they are unloaded and secured, and allows the commissioner to designate locations where the possession of a firearm is prohibited.

The notice and comment period on DCNR’s amendment to its firearms rule will end on January 9, 2023, and DCNR expects the amended rule to become effective on March 17, 2023.

“If passed, the amended rule will likely render unnecessary much of [Michum’s] trial,” lawyers for Blankenship and Marshall say in the state’s motion to stay. “The plaintiff should probably amend his complaint to challenge the revised rule. Although Plaintiff told Defendants that he would likely have problems with the amended rule, Defendants do not believe that pursuing discovery of a rule that in all likelihood will be amended is in the interest of the judicial economy. »

Mitchum told 1819 News on Tuesday in response to the state’s motion to suspend that “if the state was concerned about ‘judicial economy,’ “it had more than ample opportunity to address that issue before my lawsuit is brought”.

Mitchum said: “It should be noted that I filed written complaints with the Alabama Attorney General and the DCNR in July, as well as a notice of intent to sue in August before filing my complaint in October. .”

“Commissioner Blankenship and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall are trying to use the new law, which allows concealed carry without a license, to save face and avoid public embarrassment,” Mitchum added. “We know this because they have since March had to address this unconstitutional park rule and have now only acted when required to respond to my lawsuit.”

Mitchum said the state’s stay motion seeks “permission to continue to impose unconstitutional restrictions on our Second Amendment right to self-defense in non-sensitive government locations.” [Alabama State Parks].”

“They then ask the court to delay proceedings while they attempt to replace one unconstitutional rule with another unconstitutional rule,” Mitchum said. “Commissioner Blankenship does not have the discretion to designate gun restricted areas. These government-instituted gun-free zones are a threat to law-abiding citizens and I intend to challenge their request to delay court proceedings. The Supreme Court of Bruen, McDonald and Heller decisions made it clear that when the government imposes rules regarding Second Amendment, the state bears the burden of showing that these restrictions are consistent with the intentions of the Second Amendment when it was passed by “we the people.” The rule taking effect in January 2023 fails to do so.

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