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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers have advanced legislation that would do away with the current requirement for a person to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.

A divided House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday approved the bill. It now moves to the full Alabama House for consideration.

State sheriffs and other law enforcement officials, including the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, have opposed the legislation, arguing that the permits provide a crucial tool to combat crime and enhance public safety.

The proposal has been championed by gun-rights groups who argue that people shouldn’t have to pay a fee to carry a concealed handgun.