MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A bill that would rid Alabamians of a requirement to obtain a pistol permit before concealed carrying of a firearm is back on the table in the state legislature.
State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, has pre-filed a bill that would allow residents to carry their pistol in a concealed manner without the permit that’s currently needed.
The senator said Alabamians have a constitutional right to carry without having to register with their local sheriff’s office.
“We just feel like it’s an infringement. And the Constitution and the second amendment says that’s being infringed," said Paul Russell, who is a BamaCarry group leader.
Allen said the permits are required mainly to give sheriff’s departments money. The Alabama Sheriffs Association said sometimes permits are $8 or $25 depending on the county. The association said in some counties only 50 cents might go to the sheriff’s office and operations.
The Alabama Sheriffs Association is against the bill. They said permits are a matter of public safety. Bobby Timmons with the Alabama Sheriffs Association said sheriff’s departments run a second background check as part of the permit application process.
“If they got a criminal record or a mental record or anything that would be cautious toward a sheriff issuing a permit, then it is his place not to issue it," Timmons said.
This is the latest attempt to pass this legislation. In 2018, Allen’s bill passed in the Senate but failed in the House.
Editor’s note: The version of this story that ran on WSFA 12 News Thursday included a quote that incorrectly stated sheriff’s office officials are able to see if someone has a pistol permit by running their vehicle’s tag through a computer system. According to Captain George Beaudry, Alabama sheriffs departments can not run a vehicle’s tag to learn if someone has a pistol permit. However, he said some sheriff’s departments, including Montgomery County, have a local system where only sheriff’s deputies can check local warrants records and see whether someone has a pistol permit.