By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Northport) has announced that he has introduced legislation which would effectively end the need to purchase a concealed carry permits by county sheriffs for concealed carry in the State.
Sen. Allen said in a statement, “Last week I pre-filed legislation in the Alabama State Senate to allow Alabamians to lawfully carry guns without a permit. This permitless carry proposal would remove a needless restriction on Alabamians’ Second Amendment rights and make it easier for citizens to protect and defend their families and property.”
Sen. Allend said that, “Alabama should be leading the way on constitutional gun rights. More than ten states across the country already allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit. It’s time we give our citizens the 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.”
Allen said, “Under this proposal, the requirement for a permit would be repealed, but Alabamians could still apply for a pistol permit in order to carry a gun in states that have reciprocity laws with Alabama.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.”
Sen. Allen said that the sheriffs would still be able to sell concealed carry permits, “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.”
Under current law, all Alabamians, who have not lost their gun rights due to a felony conviction or mental issues, can carry their guns openly; however they have to purchase a permit in order to carry their handgun concealed or to keep a handgun loaded and within reach in their vehicle. Alabamians however may keep a long gun like a shotgun or AR-15 loaded and within reach however without the permit. Under current law a handgun has to be un-holstered, unloaded, and stuck in a locked box out of reach of the motorist before the citizen enters the vehicle because that would be considered “concealed.” Since most gun owners don’t want to be seen holstering and un-holstering loading and unloading their weapons every time they get in and out of their cars, most purchase the permit. Similarly just the act of putting on a jacket could turn a lawfully open carrying person into someone who is concealed carrying, and thus in need of a permit.
Sen. Allen said, “Under this legislation, Alabama businesses would still have the right to post “gun-free zone” signs, and prohibitions would remain on concealed or open carry in most government buildings and at athletic events.”
An earlier effort by Sen. Allen to simply allow Alabamians to keep their guns in their automobiles without a permit has stalled in the last two legislative sessions. That measure however was opposed by the Alabama Sheriff’s Association. Sheriffs across Alabama generate considerable revenue from the sell of concealed carry permits. Law enforcement groups worry that eliminating the need for pistol permits would make police officers jobs even more dangerous.
The Alabama Political Reporter could not find this pre-filed bill on the Senate website as there is something of a growing lag time between when a bill is filed and when it shows up in the system so we do not actually know the wording or the senate bill number for this particular piece of legislation yet.
The 2017 session of the Alabama Legislature will begin on February 7.