New laws taking effect today affecting gun owners and drivers

MGN Online

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Permit or not, legal gun owners can bring their pistols on the road, provided they’re locked up unloaded and out of reach. Employers can’t ban guns in personal vehicles at work and tow trucks now get the same roadside respect given to police cars.

Drivers:  the”M ove Over” law means you have to leave at least one lane of space between your vehicle and emergency vehicles on the side of the road or the highway where safely possible.

That list now includes garbage trucks, utility vehicles, litter crews and other public workers.

If you can’t move over safely, you are required to slow down 15 miles per hour under the speed limit.

Holstered in plain sight or locked away in a vehicle, gun owners also have new protections under state law.

“Anybody who is legally allowed to carry a gun can open carry which means you can walk down the street with a pistol holstered to your side of your body- that’s fine. Previously, that’s been the law in the past. What this law clarified was some jurisdictions were treating that as disorderly conduct per se. The new law says that there’s a rebuttable presumption that you are not acting in a disorderly manner by open carrying, “said Birmingham attorney Daniel Burnick.”So I could go down to any public place whether it’s Railroad Park, Vulcan Park, or other places with a open gun, that’s anybody without a permit as long as they’re able to legally possess that weapon.”

That being said, Chief Deputy Randy Christian with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t think that will become a common sight.

“There’s been a lot of hullaballoo about open carry. The fact is Alabama’s always been an open carry state. It clarified a few things with that, we don’t expect to see a significant uptick with people walking around with firearms opening on their sides, we don’t,” said Christian.

Business and property owners can still prohibit guns inside private property, but legal gun owners now have a right to bring them to and from their workplace parking lot.

There are other restrictions that still apply, according to Burnick.

“…Only in the parking lot and that’s true if they have a concealed carry permit or if they have a hunting license during the hunting season. What people need to understand is, the guns must be kept out of sight and if the company prohibits a gun in the workplace itself, in the building, they’re allowed to prohibit that gun in the workplace,” said Burnick.

Chief Deputy Christian says anyone who refuses to comply with a property owner’s request not to bring firearms inside could be charged with trespassing.

“You know property owners, restaurants, things like that you still have the ability if someone walks in your restaurant, business, whatever that’s open to the public and they’re openly carrying a firearm, you still have the ability to say hey we don’t allow that in here and they have to leave or they have to go put it away and come back. Certainly you can also eliminate that by putting a sign at the point of entry no weapons allowed,” said Chief Deputy Christian.

Legal gun owners without pistol permits can now legally transport them provided they are unloaded, locked up, and out of reach.

Finding a suitable location might take some work for those who can’t lock the gun in a trunk or a tool box in the back of a truck.

“It’s got to be locked away and out of your reach. You know so I can’t give much direction on that I think there’s probably some areas in an SUV that, that would be covered maybe you know like my SUV it has a hatch in the back where the tire is, it probably would fit right in there. And I think probably you’d be okay, but it’s got to be unloaded. It cannot be within your reach. You know a lot of people think maybe the glove box, but you know if I’m driving I can reach that glove box. So I would consider that in reach, under the seat, in reach, in the console, in reach-so if you don’t have a concealed carry permit you’re going to have to have that thing out of reach locked away and unloaded,” said Chief Deputy Christian.

For more information, click here.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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