Alabama House committee to hold public hearing on bill to allow concealed carry without permit

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The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee is set to move forward with a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun without getting a permit.

The committee has scheduled a public hearing on the measure Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Senators approved the bill with a 25-8 vote last week.

The bill has been heavily criticized by some law enforcement officers who say the permits are needed for public safety. Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa, the bill's sponsor, said that people shouldn't have to pay to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The National Rifle Association says 12 states - Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Main, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and North Dakota - already have a similar law in place. The organization also says those states have not seen a drop in the number of permits issued.