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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers have advanced a Republican-sponsored bill that would do away with the requirement to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

Several groups came together for a press conference on Tuesday to say that allowing citizens to carry firearms without having permits would create a greater threat to law enforcement as well as citizens themselves.

The Alabama Sheriffs Association, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, the Alabama Association of School Resource Officers and other agencies were in attendance for the event held at the Montgomery State House on February 1.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 for the legislation. The bill now moves to the full Alabama Senate.

Head law enforcement officials across the state have adamantly opposed the bill, saying it creates a greater risk for their officers, as well as makes it easier for criminals to avoid background checks when purchasing firearms.

House Republicans have named the bill as a priority for the year, but the committee approval came over the objections of law enforcement officials who spoke against it.