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Alabama bill would allow concealed carry without permit

By KIM CHANDLER | Associated Press | Published: April 17, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A proposal that would let people carry concealed handguns in Alabama without getting permits has put gun rights groups and sheriffs on opposite sides.

The bill by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa would do away with the current state requirement to obtain a concealed-carry permit.

During a public hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, proponents called the permits an infringement on a person’s right to carry a firearm while opponents called the proposal a threat to public safety.

“We have a constitutional right to protect ourselves, our families, our properties without paying a small fee, a tax, for a permit,” Allen said.

The National Rifle Association backs the bill and says 16 states have approved some version of permitless carrying, sometimes dubbed “constitutional carry” by supporters.

Sheriffs say the permits are a tool for law enforcement officers to apprehend criminals, to stop crimes and to protect communities.

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said that currently, when criminals see law enforcement officers, they will toss weapons and run. If the permit requirement is abolished, they will carry those weapons without concern.

“That permit is a tool. If we apprehend somebody that doesn’t have a permit, we are able to remove that person off the street,” Cunningham said. “We see a lot of blood on the streets but at the same time, this bill right here will increase that. Right now, we are taking that tool away from our law enforcement officers.”

Members of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America also opposed the bill known as Senate Bill 4.

“SB4 is a dangerous proposal and I ask that you vote against it,” said Judy Taylor of Moms Demand Action.

Todd Adkins, state director for the National Rifle Association of Alabama, said 16 states have approved some version of permitless carrying and other legislatures are considering similar measures.

“The premise of SB4 is that law-abiding citizens have a right to defend themselves,” Adkins said.

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