State Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Semmes, is no longer a captain with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), according to a press release from an MCSO spokesperson.
Stringer was fired by Sheriff Sam Cochran on Wednesday for his sponsorship of House Bill 618, which would make pistol permits unnecessary, MCSO spokesperson Lori Myles said. Cochran has been vocally opposed to so-called constitutional carry in the past, she said.
“[Stringer] sponsored a bill for constitutional carry,” Myles said. “The sheriff has a difference of opinion.”
Although he was hired at the rank of captain, Stringer’s position was an appointed one. Stringer did not immediately return calls and texts asking for comment. Myles said Stringer was one of the only appointed captains on the force. He was hired after being elected to the House, she said, because the office needed someone over the Semmes area. Myles did not provide Lagniappe with information pertaining to Stringer’s salary, but previous media reports indicate that as a captain he earned between $70,000 and $90,000 per year.
In addition to allowing for concealed carry without a permit in the state, HB618 would have removed the ability for district attorneys to judge intent through the use of a firearm without a permit during the commission of a crime.
Introduced in March, the bill didn’t gain much traction in the House, failing to make it out of committee before this year’s session ended Tuesday.
Currently, anyone in Mobile County who wishes to begin carrying a concealed firearm must register and pay a fee with the sheriff’s office. During an interview on FM Talk 106.5, Cochran said roughly 62,000 Mobile County residents currently possess a $20 concealed carry permit. The permits generate about $1.2 million in discretionary funds for the office, he said. The funds are audited every other year, Cochran said, and the money has most recently been used for equipment and undercover operations.
Cochran acknowledged that the National Rifle Association called his stance a “money grab,” but he denied his opposition to constitutional carry was about the money.
“If it was about the money then why would the police chiefs association come out against it?” Cochran said on the “Midday Mobile” radio show. “It’s a public safety issue.”
In a statement released on his Facebook page, Stringer said he was “proud to stand up for Second Amendment rights” despite losing his job.
“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” he wrote in the statement. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”
In a statement, Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said the party stands with Stringer. He said the party should “rally around” Stringer.
“The party must remain true to our party platform — which supports the Second Amendment — and stand up to the cancel culture that is disrupting our society. Washington, D.C., is out of control and we need leadership on the state level that will defend our rights,” Wahl said in the statement. “One of those fundamental rights is the ability to keep and bear arms.”
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