The Senate Judiciary Committee passed one of several permitless carry bills being discussed at the Alabama Statehouse, despite opposition from Senate Democrats and law enforcement officers who spoke against the measure during the meeting Wednesday.
Senate Bill 1, which would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, which is also referred to as “constitutional carry,” received a favorable report 6-4, with one member abstaining. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The committee also passed Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Allen, that, if passed, would prohibit local and state law enforcement from participating in the implementation or enforcement of any federal law related to firearms.
Senate Bill 12, a companion bill to a similar constitutional carry bill in the state House, was brought before the committee and discussed but ultimately not voted on.
During deliberations on SB1, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said the legislation would take away a valuable tool from law enforcement, referring to concealed carry permits, and decrease public safety.
“Our job is to ensure law and order and to ensure that our communities are safe,” Jones said. “This legislation would limit us in that regard. It would take away a valuable tool that we use every day.”
Twenty-one other states have passed constitutional carry legislation, a fact pointed out by National Rifle Association representative Art Thomm during his address to the committee.
“Every state that has data available, there has been no increase in crime and no decrease in officer safety associated with this law,” Thomm said.
Allen said this bill “does not do away with permits,” stating that individuals would still need a permit if carrying a firearm across state borders.
“When you have people feeling more and more like they can carry a gun anywhere, any way they want to, it just has the potential to lead to other things,” said state Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, whose home was sprayed with automatic fire by an unknown assailant in 2021. “I have a gun, so I believe in the right to bear arms. But I think that that right has been given, and we are free enough to carry them and use them in the way that we need to.”
Later during the discussions on SB1, state Sen. Greg Albritton made a motion to carry over the bill, which was quickly tabled by Chairman Tom Whatley, R-Auburn.
Whatley said the Judiciary Committee would meet again Tuesday to consider SB12.