Etowah Co. Sheriff: Pistol permits pay for SROs

Pistol permit bill, money used for SROs

ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton says he’s concerned about a bill that would eliminate the mandatory requirement to buy a pistol permit for concealed carry.

The bill sponsored by state senator Gerald Allen would make pistol permits no longer mandatory, though it wouldn’t abolish them altogether.

In Etowah County, permits cost $20 per year. Half of that money goes to fund 10 resource officers stationed at Etowah County schools.

Even now, Jonathon Horton says he’s trying to raise funds for three more school resource officers, so every stand-alone school campus in the county schools will each have one officer.

Horton is concerned if people who own guns aren't required to buy permits, they simply won't, unless they plan to go to another state that would honor a permit.

“I’m a 2nd Amendment person, I believe in the right to bear arms. I understand the argument that it feels like a tax or a tariff on your right,” Horton said. “But, at the same time, as the husband to a school nurse and the father to a school teacher, and grandson at elementary age, it’s important to me and very little price to pay for our kids.”

The sheriff’s office is responsible for a third of the budget that pays for school resource officers. The Etowah County Board of Education and the Etowah County Commission also each pay a third. If the money ceases to come from pistol permits, Horton says he’ll have to find the money somewhere else.

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