City to host BamaCarry state meeting

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 2/9/18

BamaCarry will hold its statewide meeting in Jasper Saturday, which is expected to bring a couple hundred people and a large number of statewide Republican candidates.

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City to host BamaCarry state meeting

Posted

BamaCarry will hold its statewide meeting in Jasper Saturday, which is expected to bring a couple hundred people and a large number of statewide Republican candidates.

Chuck Wright of Jasper, a state board member for the gun owners rights organization, said the doors would open at the Jasper Civic Center at 8:30 a.m. that day and will last until 5:30 p.m. Jasper Mayor David O’Mary confirmed he will welcome the visitors that morning, kicking off the official opening of the event at 9:30 a.m.

“BamaCarry is Alabama’s largest no-compromise gun rights group,” Wright said. “Basically this is a state meeting we have, called the Freedom Conference. It is an annual meeting. It is our fourth year to have it and the first year in Jasper.” 

With leaders in the organization wanting to bring the event to different areas of the state, Wright advocated hosting the conference in Jasper.

“It will bring in some income,” he said. He and O’Mary confirmed that a number of visitors are expected to stay in local hotels this weekend because a number of people are coming from outside the county. Some speakers and other participants are also expected to be in the city Friday night.

“We’re expecting anywhere from 225 to 250 people to show up,” Wright said.

According to Wright, speakers will include Eric Pratt, the executive director of Gunowners of America, representing 1.5 million members and the second largest gunowners organization behind the National Rifle Association (NRA); Lt. Col. Willes K. Lee (Ret.), a board member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the former head of the Hawaii Republican Party and co-chairman of the Trump-Pence Second Amendment Coalition leadership team; T.J. Partan of the National Association of Gun Rights; and Dan Wos, a Second Amendment speaker and author of “Good Gun Bad Guy: Behind the Lies of the Anti-Gun Radical” and a sequel book.

BamaCarry will have its own merchandise table, and some of the speakers are also expected to have displays and merchandise, he said. Son’s Smokehouse is catering a barbecue lunch for the event. Refreshments will also be available.

Among the Republican candidates who are expected to attend and meet visitors (but not speak) at the event are gubernatorial candidate Scott Dawson, lieutenant governor candidate Will Ainsworth, attorney general candidates Chess Bedsole and Alice Martin, and Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2 candidate Chris McCool.

“Basically the purpose of BamaCarry is to educate the public on gun laws and to get some of these restrictive gun laws changed,” Wright said. “BamaCarry supports any kind of legal gun ownership. We support anyone who wants to open carry, which is legal in the state of Alabama, and it has been that way for over 100 years. We support people’s rights to conceal carry.

“We are for responsible gun ownership. We feel you should train if you have a weapon. We have members who teach courses. We work with the police departments. For about the last two years, the local chapter has sponsored the gun classes at the Cordova Police Department.” He said a local law enforcement appreciation event scheduled sometime in the spring.

Wright noted the organization is continuing efforts for the fourth year in the Alabama Legislature to pass constitutional carry legislation, “which basically would not do away with the permit. We just feel the Second Amendment never said anything about a permit.

“We’re just wanting the permit to be optional. It would still be needed. If you go to pick your child up at school, federal law says you have to have a permit from that state. If you were to go out of state, say to Mississippi and you are pulled over, you have to identify you have a permit in Alabama. All the border states do recognize our permit.” 

However, he said the chances for passage this year are not good. It is generally recognized legislators are wanting to concentrate on the budgets and then adjourn to campaign.

The state organization will soon endorse candidates in this year’s races, he said. The local chapter has endorsed Republican candidate Thomas McCarty for the District 13 House seat now held by Connie Rowe. McCarty said on his Facebook campaign page he qualified Thursday afternoon with the state party.

Wright said the group continues to grow, with 1,200 members of the BamaCarry Walker County page on Facebook; the statewide Facebook page has 19,000 members.

The website is BamaCarry.org. About 1,500 people are statewide dues-paying members, he said; off-hand, he estimated roughly about 75 paid members are in the county.

The regular meetings in Walker County are on the fourth Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at Deano's Hickory Pit in Jasper.

McCool and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed will be this month’s guest speakers, he said. Ainsworth will speak in March.

Anyone can go to bamacarry.org to purchase a $25 ticket (plus $2.50 tax). Wright said tickets will be available at the door but will not include lunch by that point, as a lunch count was needed on Friday.