When Jimmy Allen walked into the polling station at the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department on June 3 to cast his ballot in Alabama’s primary election, he had no idea that the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series CORE pistol strapped to his side — a gun that fires 15 rounds from a magazine, plus the one already in the chamber — would raise eyebrows. Allen votes regularly, and no one had given his gun so much as a second glance before. But on this day, a polling official — his Aunt Rita, actually — took issue. “She threw her hands in the air and said, ‘No guns allowed!’ ” Allen recalled last week. “I laughed, because I thought she was being funny.”
Aunt Rita was not. A sign outside the station warned voters to leave their guns outside. “She’s my aunt, and I respect my elders,” Allen said. He put his pistol in his car, cast his vote and left.
But he did not go meekly. And because he did not, Alabamians who vote in Tuesday’s runoff election will be able to carry guns openly and with confidence in many of the state’s polling places.