The Mobile Police Department announced Wednesday that Governor Kay Ivey will sign House Bill 375 into law on Thursday, July 11. The bill, which passed with bipartisan support, makes possessing a stolen gun a Class C felony.
Rep. Matt Simpson, a former prosecutor who previously prosecuted felonies in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, sponsored House Bill 375.
Under the new law, felony charges will be brought for receiving stolen property that is a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, regardless of its value. The law goes into effect October 1, 2019.
“Thank you to Rep. Simpson for carrying this legislation, to our Mobile delegation for supporting it, and to Gov. Ivey for signing it into law,” said Mayor Stimpson. “This legislation will improve public safety for citizens in Mobile and across Alabama. It will also protect the men and women of law enforcement who risk their lives to protect us each and every day by adding stiffer penalties for those would attempt to cause them harm. We are grateful to all of those who had a hand in its approval.”
Mobile’s Public Safety Director James Barber and Police Chief Lawrence Battiste will be present for the signing, according to MPD. Both were instrumental in getting the bill passed. Because of their efforts, law enforcement agencies from multiple cities advocated for the passage of the bill.
Chief Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Susman, who played a key role in helping draft the legislation, will also be at the signing along with George Talbot, director of communications and external affairs for the City of Mobile.
Making possession of a stolen gun a Class C felony comes only months after Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder was killed by a person using a stolen gun. MPD says this new legislation will help keep stolen guns off the streets.