MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Legislators will soon debate a proposal that would end the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Alabama.
Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, filed a bill that would repeal the requirement for a permit, according to our news partners at AL.com. The bill would not eliminate permits entirely but they would no longer be mandatory.
“It’s very important for us to maintain the idea that the Second Amendment was given to personally defend ourselves, our families, our property and not be required to pay a fee or a tax,” Allen told AL.com.
This is not the first time the senator has sponsored the bill. It passed the Senate in 2017, with strong support from Republicans and opposition from Democrats. But it died in the House.
Police and sheriffs have been opposed to the bill for years saying the requirement for a permit is an important law enforcement tool.
Bobby Timmons, executive director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, told AL.com that opposition has not changed and they plan to request a public hearing on the bill after the legislative session begins on March 5.
Timmons says though the sheriffs' offices use the money raised by collecting the permit fees to help fund their operations, that isn't the main reason they want to keep the requirement.
“It’s not an issue we’ve ever looked at from the standpoint of revenue,” Timmons said. “We’ve looked at it more for safety.”
To get a pistol permit, a gun owner just has to fill out an application and pass a criminal background check conducted by their local sheriff’s office. There are State and Federal laws that prohibit people convicted of certain felonies and domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing a pistol, as well as “anyone of unsound mind,” or in the country illegally.
State law says a gun owner is required to have a permit to carry a concealed handgun:
"Except on land under his or her control or in his or her own abode or his or her own fixed place of business, no person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person without a permit.” (Code of Alabama, Section 13A-11-73.)
A gun owner without a permit is only allowed to carry a pistol in their vehicle if it is unloaded and locked in a compartment that is out of reach of anyone in the vehicle.