Dozens lobby against scrapping concealed carry permit requirement

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Dozens of people came to the statehouse to oppose a bill that would rid Alabamians of a requirement to obtain a pistol permit before concealed carrying a firearm.

State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, sponsored this 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 and pay a fee.

“The founding fathers gave us the right to possess a firearm to carry that and to be able to protect our families, our businesses, our personal properties without paying a fee or tax,” Allen said.

Allen said the bill does not get rid of permits. He said when legislation has passed like this in other counties, the number of registered permits increased.

The Senate Judiciary committee did not end up holding a public hearing on the bill Wednesday morning like it had originally planned. The committee chair said the committee ran out of time after hearing several other bills.

At least 50 people with the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense traveled to lobby against the bill. Judy Taylor with the organization traveled from Tuscaloosa. She is a gun owner and opposes the legislation.

“I think it’s important that our law enforcement have some overview of who is able to legally obtain a gun,” Taylor said. “I’m also a person that believes in guns, in hunting, in gun safety, and sensible gun legislation.”

At least ten sheriffs attended the hearing as well. Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said there are many sheriffs against this. He said if a criminal does not have a permit, it is another “tool” to put someone in jail.

“We find that all the time, where people have weapons. But at the same time, if we stop you and you don’t have a permit, we’ve got a reason to put you in jail,” Cunningham said. “You take that permit away from us, then what we got? We’ve got nothing. We’re going to have problems in our community, problems in our schools, problems in our events that we’re having.”

The bill could come up in committee again next week.

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