What happened was, Cliff Sims on his radio show @ 101.1, from 9-11am cst, asked all of us to contact the Governor how we felt. Boom, many calls and JUST 5 hours later…Proof that WE can make a difference.Bentley reacted quickly from the pressure. Now, we want to see heads roll at ALDOT for doing this against state law!~ JP
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Governor Robert Bentley announced Friday afternoon that he ordered all “no weapons allowed” signs removed from Alabama’s rest areas after readers of Yellowhammer News contacted the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) this week asking the agency to justify their policy.
I have ordered the AL Department of Transportation to remove signs banning weapons at all Alabama rest stops to comply with state law.
— Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) July 24, 2015
The Governor’s director of communications, Jennifer Ardis, explained further.
This afternoon, @GovernorBentley ordered ALDOT to remove the signs banning weapons at all AL rest stops to comply with state law.
The staff at ALDOT will begin removing signs today to comply with @GovernorBentley’s order.
— Jennifer Ardis (@jenniferardis) July 24, 2015
In a followup conversation Thursday, Harris said the agency is waiting for the attorney general’s office to weigh in on whether ALDOT has the authority to implement the gun ban without legislative authorization.
A spokesperson from the attorney general’s office told Yellowhammer they are currently reviewing the matter after receiving complaints from the public.
After multiple requests for comment were ignored, Yellowhammer was contacted Wednesday by ALDOT spokesperson Tony Harris, who said readdressing the policy is not currently a priority for the agency, although he acknowledged they had received some public opposition to the gun free zones.
“We don’t want this to be a distraction for us,” said Harris. “You can probably imagine we have a lot of issues we deal with day in and day out.”
ALDOT enactment seems to contradict state law, which gives “the Legislature complete control over regulation and policy pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation and policy is applied uniformly throughout this state to each person subject to the state’s jurisdiction and to ensure protection of the right to keep and bear arms recognized by the Constitutions of the State of Alabama and the United States.”
State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) told Yellowhammer he believes the ALDOT has clearly overreached its authority:
“I think that’s certainly an overstep,” he said. “The Second Amendment is pretty clear: [government] shall not infringe. It seems like more and more, government tends to infringe on our right to bear arms. If anything I think we need to be getting rid of gun-free zones, not creating more of them.”
Thanks to YellowHammer for staying on this.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has banned firearms at rest stops along the state’s highways and many are questioning its legal authority to do so. Despite being an open-carry and concealed-carry state, Alabama now has signs at every rest station that read “no weapons beyond this point”.
ALDOT cites Section 25-1-59(c) of the Alabama Code that gives it them power to “prescribe any reasonable rules and regulations so as to prevent unnecessary trespassing upon or injury to any of the public roads, bridges, or highways of the state upon which state money may be expended or appropriated or upon any part of the right-of-way of any of the public roads or highways in the state upon which state money may be expended or appropriated.”
In their own administrative rule 450-3-1-.08(3), ALDOT created a regulation under the authority of Ala. Code 25-1-59 which reads:
“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.”