After Alabama’s legislature failed to pass a bill that would have removed permit requirements for concealed carry handguns, new evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that handgun murders dropped in states that did pass such laws.
The states of Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming have all seen a significant decrease in handgun murders over the past several years. FBI data reveals that Alaska’s handgun murder rate declined since its law lifted concealed carry restrictions passed in 2003. Similarly, Arizona’s murder rate has dropped since its law lifted restrictions in 2010, and Wyoming’s has fallen since it did the same in 2011.
On top of those three, nine other states have removed the permit requirement on American’s wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right. Those states are Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. In addition, Arkansas and Montana recognize permitless carry from other states.
The Alabama Senate approved a bill to eliminate the permit requirement for concealed carry of a handgun in a straight party-line vote, but the measure failed in the House of Representatives. The failure of the 2017 bill is nothing new, as several previous measures aimed at loosening Alabama’s conceal carry permit rules have failed to become law. Law enforcement associations, primarily county sheriffs’ offices, have lobbied against most of these changes because they are the chief recipient of the fees gun owners must pay to obtain a conceal carry permit.
Currently, to receive a permit, a gun-owner must undergo a background check from the Sheriff’s Office and pay a fee that varies from county to county. In 2015, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor (D) said that local sheriffs “know” things about their constituents that gives them “a pretty good feel for their constituents and their county and who should and should not have a permit.”
“We know things that the computer can’t tell us,” he said. “We know things about our citizens. We know who’s going through a divorce. We know who’s in a bad time, who may be drinking too much, who may be abusive but hasn’t necessarily crossed the line of a crime. But in our opinion, they don’t need a pistol permit.”