BamaCarry will have a statewide conference for the second year in a row in Jasper, with incoming Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and a number of gun rights advocates speaking.
Freedom Conference 2019 will be held at the Jasper Alabama Civic Center on Saturday, Feb. 9. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the event will start at 9:45 a.m., according to BamaCarry President Eddie Fulmer of Northport. The event will end at 4 p.m.
"We had such good luck last year we decided to hold it there again," Fulmer said Thursday, noting about 250 attended last year for the event's first year in Jasper. More are expected this year due to the list of speakers.
"We may move next year to a different section of the state" to give a better opportunity to participants having to drive a long distance, he said.
The conference was "well received by Jasper and the mayor (David O'Mary) did a welcome. He will be doing the same thing this time," Fulmer said. A number of statewide candidates were on hand. A number of potential 2020 candidates are expected to be on hand, as well as members of the Alabama Legislature and other state and area leaders.
Lunch at noon will be catered for those who buy a ticket in advance for $30, with the meal break lasting a little more than an hour.
Tickets will be sold at the door for $25, but lunch will not be included in that ticket. However, he noted that a number of good restaurants are nearby and participants who return will be given armbands. "There will be plenty of time," he said.
Those wishing to attend the lunch are encouraged to purchase tickets from now up to a week before the event.
A link for the tickets is on the group's website, BamaCarry.org. One may also look at the group's Facebook page, BamaCarry News.
Organizers of the annual meeting, which is in its fifth year, noted last year that BamaCarry is Alabama’s largest no-compromise gun rights group, with about 1,500 statewide dues-paying members.
At least two pistols will be given away as door prizes, Fulmer said, although some more gun-related prizes are expected. "You have to pass a background check right there," he said. "A firearms dealers will be on site to fill out the paperwork" for winners.
Ainsworth takes the oath of office on Monday in Montgomery as lieutenant governor. He was endorsed in May 2018 by BamaCarry, when he was a Republican House member from Guntersville running for the Republican nomination.
“Throughout his time in the Alabama Legislature and in every vote he has cast, Will Ainsworth has proven to be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and a strong supporter of gun rights for citizens across the state,” BamaCarry organizer Bruce Wade said at the time in a statement. “Will Ainsworth understands that gun free zones put law-abiding citizens in danger, and his plan allowing teachers to voluntarily carry firearms is the only proposal that will defend our classrooms and protect our children.”
Fulmer said C.J. Grisham, the president of Open Carry Texas, will also speak. "I believe they had like 40 pro-gun bills run through there last year," he said. "He is a really good motivational speaker we thought we needed."
Kaitlin Bennett, who graduated from Kent State University, will speak. She became a national news story on Fox News and elsewhere for having her senior photo showing her carrying an AR rifle on campus, he said.
Also lined up is Mark Keith Robertson from the I Am a Majority Movement, Fulmer said, noting Robertson was known for challenging a city council. Robertson criticized them about some gun laws and asking them what they would do for him, adding, "I am the majority."
Fulmer added that Robertson is looking forward to coming, as he has never been to Alabama.
Also coming are Erich Pratt with Gun Owners of Alabama, as well as Second Amendment attorney Champ Crocker of BamaCarry's self defense insurance fund.
"Our main goal with BamaCarry is to educate people," Fulmer said. "That's what we try to do is to educate them on what your rights really are. It's amazing the number of people who think if someone is stealing your car, you can just open fire on them. But you can't do that.
"They think you can just kill someone because they are stealing your stuff, and you can't unless they have threatened you in some way. If you see them stealing your firewood, the best thing to do is just call the police. If you go to shooting, guess who is going to jail? It's not going to be that guy. It's going to be you."
Fulmer said the conference is used as a springboard to get started with the legislative process, with legislators invited to show up. He noted the organization will push several bills with the Alabama Legislature starts its 2019 Regular Session in March, including a constitutional carry bill.
"We use it as a primer to get our people pumped up some to get them busy" in the process, he said, noting the conference speeches will be taped for videos to be placed on YouTube.
"It is a good time with gun owners and patriots" who care about their rights, freedoms and liberty, he said. "We're all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Anyone wanting more information may call Fulmer at (205) 202-0486.