Wednesday, the State Senator Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report that would establish a cohesive and statewide management process for administering and managing concealed weapons permits in the state of Alabama. The legislation would also allow citizens, whose weapons rights have not been revoked, to obtain a lifetime concealed carry permit, also called a pistol permit.
Senate Bill 47 is sponsored by State Senator Randy Price, R-Opelika.
“I am for protecting our gun rights while demanding accountability,” Sen. Price said. “Every day our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect and serve our cities, counties, and communities. This bill will offer additional safety and information for them to more effectively do their job. As a responsible gun owner, I believe having this new information and a reliable concealed weapons permit process supports the safety both of our citizens and law enforcement without infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights.”
SB47 is supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Alabama Gun Rights (AGR).
“The NRA strongly supports this streamlined permitting process,” said NRA Alabama State Director Art Thomm. “Not only would it bring much needed 21st century technology to Alabama’s antiquated system, but it would be the first time law-abiding Alabamians were given the option for a lifetime concealed carry permit.”
Bamacarry however opposes the legislation.
Bamacarry President Eddie Fulmer said that they do not want all concealed carry permit holders in the state in a database.
Fulmer told the Alabama Political Reporter that all it takes is one election, see what happened in Virginia, for state government to suddenly become hostile to honest law abiding citizens.
The Alabama Sheriffs Association also opposes the legislation. They oppose giving up control of the database to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA).
“I issued 15,200 permits last year,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack. 321 were denied. They were identified by the local authorities as having been convicted felons or have other disqualifying factors. “I am afraid if we move this to Montgomery we are going to compromise some of those safety protocols.”
Bamacarry disputes the need for the database of pistol permit holders.
“People who have concealed carry permits do commit crimes and shoot people,” Sheriff Mack said. “Sheriff Big John Williams in Lowndes County was killed by an 18 year old with a concealed carry permit.”
Bamacarry supporters disputed that afterwards talking to APR. Legally you are supposed to be 19 in order to be issue a concealed carry permit and the gun was stolen, thus the shooter was not a law abiding concealed carry permit holder.
Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, said, “I can not support a life time permit.”
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said, “90 percent of those mass shooters did not have a criminal record. They were law abiding citizens.”
State Representative Proncey Robertson, R-Mt. Hope, is the sponsor of the House version of the bill, House Bill 39.
“I have communicating with the Sheriff’s association liaison Randy Hillman many many times,” Robertson said. “I believe we have done a good job communicating with them.”
Hillman disputed that account.
Singleton said that Price and Robertson should have sat down with the sheiff’s association when the bill was drafted.
“ALEA just maintains the database,” Robertson said. The issuance and revocation of the permits is still left to the sheriffs.
Senator Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield, said that they should have looked into a database just of those persons who are prohibited from having guns.
Stutts said, “The one breaking the law doesn’t get permits.”
Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, said, :I would like to see the parties come together and work on the bill.”
Fulmer said that permits are “A revenue stream of $17.5 million a year. We are talking about money.”
Under Price’s bill 60 percent of the permit revenue would go to ALEA.
Price said, “Some counties are doing the right thing and some are not and that is why ATF came in and started their investigation in the state of Alabama.”
SB47 received a favorable report and can now be considered by the full Senate.
It is currently legal in Alabama to openly carry firearms without a permit, if your gun rights have not been taken away. A citizen can lose their gun rights due to a felony conviction, being declared mentally unfit by a probate judge, or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. While every citizen, who still has gun rights, may openly carry without a concealed carry permit; it is against the law to have a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a concealed carry permit. Handguns must be unloaded and locked in a box or trunk out of reach. Similarly, if a person is openly carrying a handgun on their side, were to put a jacket on so that the gun was no longer visible that would also be a misdemeanor as they are now carrying concealed, unless they have a valid concealed carry permit allowing them to conceal their handgun. Persons with a concealed carry permit are allowed to have their gun on their person while riding in a motor vehicle or within reach like in the glove box, loaded or not. This does not apply to long guns (rifles and shotguns). All Alabama citizens, who still have their gun rights, may carry their shotgun or rifle with them in their vehicle, without having to obtain a concealed carry permit to exercise that right.
To get your concealed carry permit you must go to the sheriff’s department in your home county. The fee varies from county to county.
Twenty percent of adult Alabamians have a concealed carry permit, the highest rate in the country.