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Senator: Alabamians should be able to carry a pistol in their car without permit

Gun on Flag

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) says he plans to introduce a bill during the upcoming legislative session that would allow Alabamians to carry a handgun in their car without having to pay for a concealed carry permit.

Under current law, an unlicensed handgun must be kept unloaded and out of reach while be transported in a vehicle. Sen. Allen says Alabama’s Castle Doctrine makes it clear that a vehicle is an extension of an individual’s home, which means there should not be a licensing requirement.

“Your vehicle is personal property,” he said in a press release Monday. “This bill would simply allow a law abiding citizen who can own a handgun the same right to carry a handgun in their car as they do in their home. Alabama’s Castle Doctrine Law specifically states that your vehicle is an extension of your home. This should include the right to carry a loaded handgun in your car.”

State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) told the Decatur Daily he supports the legislation because the current law seems “backward” to him.

“It’s legal in the state of Alabama for me to carry my pistol on my person unconcealed without a permit,” Henry explained. “But as soon as I get in my car, the law says I have to have a permit. That seems backward to me.”

Support for gun rights often crosses partisan lines in Alabama, but many Alabama Democrats continue to fall more in line with national Democrats, even warning that expanded gun rights could turn the state into the “wild, wild west.”

Local sheriffs have also been among the most ardent opponents of similar legislation in the past, including a bill that died in the House last year. The Alabama Sheriffs Association opposed the bill during the 2014 session, saying it could make law enforcement officers’ jobs more difficult and noted that sheriffs would lose some of the revenue they receive through pistol permits.

The bill was one of the most hotly-debated issues during last year’s session, at times grinding the senate to a halt for hours. It looks like we may be in for more fireworks during the 2015 sessions, which is set to begin in March.