The City of Sumiton, population 2,520, had better lawyer up before the showdown it’s headed for with BamaCarry Inc., an outspoken defender of gun rights.
BamaCarry has filed a suit against the mayor of Sumiton for efforts to keep handguns out of the city’s biggest annual event, the Frog Festival.
“To be very honest, I thought we were within our rights, and I’m not saying we weren’t within our rights, but I guess that will be determined by the courts,” Sumiton Mayor Petey Ellis told the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, reporting Tuesday’s city council meeting.
BamaCarry, which describes itself as “Alabama’s only ‘No Compromise’ gun rights group,” is suing the mayor for prohibiting guns from the 2018 Frog Festival. Further, the complaint said, Ellis in 2019 tried an end run around Alabama gun laws by leasing public property to private entities, the people running display booths.
“That’s not what we did,” Ellis told the Mountain Eagle. “We rented out temporary spaces for people to sell their merchandise at the Frog Festival. It’s a temporary business license.”
“According to the suit, Sumiton posted signs saying guns were prohibited during the 2018 Frog Festival,” the paper reported. “In February 2019, an individual petitioned the Attorney General, who corresponded with the city but took no further action because the festival had already occurred.”
“I’ve got a lot of news for them,” said the mayor. “We have never had a profit from the Frog Festival,” Ellis said. He went on to say that the city does this as a community project, and it’s been successful.