By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 24, which would allow Alabamians, who are lawfully allowed to possess a handgun to carry their weapon on them concealed without having to get a concealed carry permit (sometimes popularly called a “pistol permit) from their Sheriff’s Department.
SB24 is sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). Sen. Allen said in a statement, “Alabama leads the way on constitutional rights. More than ten states across the country already allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit. It’s time we allow our citizens to exercise their right to bear arms without first seeking the government’s permission. We already allow open carry without a permit, and there is no logical reason for continuing to require a permit for concealed carry.”
Sen. Allen said, “Under this proposal, the requirement for a permit would be repealed, but Alabamians could still apply for a pistol permit in order to carry a gun in states that have reciprocity laws with Alabama. Currently, Alabama conceal-carry permit holders can carry guns in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, among other states, due to state reciprocity laws. A pistol permit holder would also retain the benefit of foregoing a background check when purchasing firearms. You will still need a permit if you’re going to legally carry a gun in other states, so I anticipate that a large majority of gun owners in Alabama will continue to purchase a permit from their local sheriff. My goal is to remove unnecessary burdens on law-abiding citizens who own and carry guns, since most criminals and thugs don’t bother applying for a permit anyways.”
The bill passed the Senate on a 26 to 8 on a party line vote. Sen. Harri Ann Smith (I) voted present.
SB24 now goes to the Alabama House of Representatives
The Alabama Sheriff’s Association is fighting hard against this bill claiming that this is a public safety issue. A source with the Association told The Alabama Political Reporter two weeks ago that SB24 would pass the Senate despite their best efforts, but predicted that they had enough support to kill it in the House.
Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas told The Troy Messenger that while he understood both sides that State Legislature should put public safety first.
Pro-Second Amendment groups including: BamaCarry, the National Rifleman’s Association (NRA), and the Alabama Gun Rights Network all support passage of SB24.
Sen. Gerald Allen has been trying to pass legislation allowing Alabamians to keep a loaded gun in their car for the last several sessions. This session he is championing Constitutional Carry.
Many Second Amendment activists believe that since their right to have guns is enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution then they object to having to pay a permit to exercise their constitutional rights.