With Alabamainins no longer required to purchase a permit to carry a handgun, sheriff's offices around the state have been concerned with how to make up the lost revenue.

The constitutional carry legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R–Citronelle), removed the requirement for Alabamians to acquire a permit to carry a concealed pistol on their person or in their vehicle. It went into effect on January 1.

The law also created the Local Government Pistol Permit Revenue Loss Fund to help offset revenue losses from removing the concealed carry permit requirement. Alabamians still have the option to get a concealed carry permit if they so choose.

House Bill 320 (HB320), sponsored by State Rep. Russel Bedsole (R-Alabaster), would increase the initial $5 million annually allocated for the revenue loss fund to $7.5 million. It would also change the fund's name to the "Sheriffs' Advancement in Education, Technology, and Training Fund."

Bedsole, who did not support the 2022 permitless carry law, presented the bill to the House.

According to Bedsole, the increased dollar amount comes from using the 2021 pistol permit revenue over 2022 as a basis for comparison.

He also said the name change would better reflect the uses for the funds allocated to local sheriff's offices.

Stringer spoke in favor of the bill, saying the underfunding was an oversight in the original legislation. 

State Reps. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) and Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) took several opportunities to bemoan England's bill that failed in committee last week, which would have added a criminal penalty for failing to inform an officer of the presence of a weapon when asked.

"It just begs the question, are we really trying to protect law enforcement when we put them at greater risk?" England said. "And did we not just give them lip service last session for political expediency purposes; rhetoric? Just to talk. Just to get your agreement, knowing we aren't going to do what's necessary on the street to protect you."

HB320 passed the House with a vote of 100 "yes" votes and one abstention. It will now proceed to the Senate for deliberation.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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