COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson wanted to address a murky situation that caused some recent confusion in the community.

According to the sheriff, an “incorrect statement” had been published in a local newspaper website, that said the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office and Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office had both charged retired military personnel fees for “lifetime” concealed carry permits.

Sheriff Williamson says one reason, in particular, this isn’t true is the fact that they have “never been allowed to offer a lifetime permit to anyone.”

The sheriff added that the article was referencing the new lifetime concealed carry permit laws that his department was notified of last week.

Earlier this year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the Constitutional Carry Bill into law. That law will take effect on January 1, 2023, allowing a lifetime concealed carry permit to be issued free of charge to all honorably discharged Military personnel, regardless of how long they served.

“Until now, we were only allowed by state law to issue a free permit one year at a time to the fully retired Military Veterans,” Sheriff Williamson explained. “The fact we can now offer a lifetime permit will save our Veterans from having to make a trip back to our office each year to renew that permit.”

He added that the law has tied their hands up until now, attributing the issue to a database that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has been working to create that will list anyone that is forbidden to carry a firearm, which is a continued effort to make sure convicted felons can’t obtain a carry permit.

“It has always been my desire to be able to allow all qualified Military Veterans regardless of the number of years they have served, to be able to receive a carry permit free of charge,” Williams said. “I have never liked having to charge our younger Veterans or currently active Military a fee. Now the State of Alabama has heard our requests and made it possible for us to recognize our Veterans of all ages and all active-duty men and women, for their brave service to our Country.”

Starting January 1, 2023, Sheriff Williamson said his department will be able to issue a lifetime carry permit to any active or former Military or Reserve Military personnel, as long as they provide a copy of their “DD214” form showing proof of service.

Williamson added that he discussed the article with Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton, saying they are both “sorry for the confusion that has occurred,” and are both available to answer questions from their communities.