Bill could end concealed carry permit requirement

Published 3:00 am Friday, March 24, 2017

The Alabama Senate is considering a bill that would remove the requirement for citizens to purchase a concealed carry permit from their local sheriff’s office.

Supporters say the bill removes a barrier to a Constitutional right while opponents say it could endanger law enforcement officers and take revenue from sheriff’s departments.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said he can see both sides of the argument, but said his department puts public safety first.

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“We’re always going to put public safety first and there’s a lot of concern about individuals being able to carry guns without background checks,” Thomas said.

Local resident Angi Stalnaker, spokesperson for pro-second-amendment organization Bama Carry, said the bill will not affect background checks.

“In Alabama when you purchase a gun, a background check is done at the time of purchase,” Stalnaker said. “This bill would not change that.”

The organization presented data at a public hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee that they say shows no increase in officer deaths by gun violence after permit requirements were removed from a dozen other states.

Eddie Fulmer, president of Bama Carry, said a recent internal email from Bobby Timmons, director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, shows that the association’s main concern is revenue that the permit fees grenerate.

“The most recent [email] proves that his association’s opposition to the bill has nothing to do with officer safety. His concern is only about the revenue these fees generate,” Fulmer explained.

Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Troy, said there are two sides to the bill.

“It would necessitate some revenue replacement in several counties,” Holley said.

“Otherwise, it would grant some of our law-abiding citizens that have the constitutional right to carry– it removes one of the things that denies them that right. It’s a little bit of both worlds.”

Holley said he was unsure about how the bill might affect background checks.

No date and time has yet been set for when the bill might get a vote in the Senate.