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Senator files bill to allow Alabamians to carry guns without a permit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) wants to ensure Alabamians right to carry a gun without a permit. On Wednesday, he pre-filed legislation to remove current Second Amendment restrictions embedded in the state’s laws.

“Alabama should be leading the way on constitutional gun rights. More than ten states across the country already allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit. It’s time we give our citizens the right to bear arms without first seeking the government’s permission,” Allen said. “We already allow open carry without a permit, and there is no logical reason for continuing to require a permit for concealed carry.”

While Allen’s bill would remove the legal requirement of needing a permit to carry within the state’s borders, Alabamians could still acquire permits to carry in states such as Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida that reciprocate Alabama’s concealed carry laws.

“You will still need a permit if you’re going to legally carry a gun in other states, so I anticipate that a large majority of gun owners in Alabama will continue to purchase a permit from their local sheriff,” Allen remarked. “My goal is to remove unnecessary burdens on law-abiding citizens who own and carry guns, since most criminals and thugs don’t bother applying for a permit anyways.”

The bill would still allow property owners to maintain their right to create their own “gun-free zones,” and prohibitions would remain on concealed or open carry in most government buildings and at athletic events.

“The law-abiding citizens of Alabama have a fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The NRA supports legislation that would provide law-abiding citizens greater freedom to protect themselves in the manner that best suits their needs, while still keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals,” said Lacey Biles, National Rifle Association Director of State and Local Affairs.

Attempts to loosen Alabama’s permit rules have previously failed. Law enforcement associations, primarily county sheriffs’ offices, have lobbied against changes because they are the chief recipient of the fees gun owners must legally pay to obtain a 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.”

RELATED: Ala. Sheriff wants to control pistol permits: ‘We know things about our citizens’

“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.”

Alabama’s 2017 legislative session will begin on February 7.

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