Alabama senators approved Citronelle Rep. Shane Stringer’s permitless carry bill Thursday, with overwhelming support in a 23-6 vote down party lines.
Senators offered two amendments to Stinger’s HB 272, which removes the state’s requirement to obtain a concealed carry license from a sheriff before carrying a handgun hidden on one’s person or a loaded handgun within reach in one’s vehicle. Those changes will have to be approved by the House before going to the governor’s desk.
The House will convene again next Tuesday. Representatives approved the bill 65-37 last week.
The Alabama Sheriffs Association, the state county commission association and Moms Demand Action have all ardently opposed removing the requirement, arguing it removes policing tools from law enforcement and degrades public safety.
One amendment added in the Senate Judicial Committee establishes a Local Government Pistol Permit Revenue Loss Fund and seeks to divert a reported $5 million in state funding to replace the estimated lost revenue from the bill.
However, proponents of permitless carry, such as BamaCarry President Eddie Fulmer, have consistently argued permit revenues actually increase after states pass such laws. There are currently 21 other states with permitless carry, or “constitutional carry” laws.
In previous interviews, Stringer has argued sheriffs’ opposition to the legislation is really about the loss of discretionary funding. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office made $1.2 million off of concealed carry permits in 2020, which is used to fund the department’s communication equipment and community outreach programs.
The substitute bill provided by Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, reestablishes some rights for property owners to prohibit carrying on their land or in their buildings with the use of “conspicuous signage” at entrances or by direct notification. The substitute would classify violations of these notices to be third-degree criminal trespassing.
Under current law, Alabama residents cannot carry handguns concealed on one’s person or a loaded handgun within reach in one’s vehicle unless they possess a concealed carry permit. The law does not apply to rifles and shotguns. Alabama is an open carry state, meaning residents may freely carry handguns in holsters as long as they are visible.
Alabama already restricts forbidden persons from carrying all firearms. This accounts for age, conditions of bond, mental health orders and those convicted of felonies. It is illegal to possess a stolen firearm of any value. The law already prevents gun owners from carrying in restricted areas such as schools and on private property.
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