The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation allowing most adult Alabamians to lawfully carry their handguns with them concealed or in an automobile without obtaining a concealed carry permit from their local sheriff.

House Bill 272 was sponsored by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Satsuma). Stringer is the former police chief of Satsuma and formerly worked for the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department. Stringer was fired from his job with the Mobile Sheriff’s Department by Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran.

Under current Alabama law, everyone is allowed to carry their firearms with them openly, as long as they are not barred from possessing a gun due to criminal convictions. Carrying a long gun, like a rifle or shotgun, in a motor vehicle is legal without a permit.

But carrying a concealed handgun, or carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle, requires purchasing the concealed carry permit, often called a pistol permit. This bill would end that legal requirement.

Many Alabama sheriffs rely on the sale of concealed carry permits to meet their budget needs for equipment like automobiles, bulletproof vests, and training.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) said, “This measure takes revenue from law enforcement.”

Proponents contend that permit revenue will actually go up following passage of constitutional carry. This happened in other states, according to some law enforcement agencies, because a concealed carry permit is required under federal law to carry at a school, and once more people start concealed carrying, proponents say they will want the permits to carry their weapons with them out of state or to make purchasing a firearm easier.

Some opponents argued that permitless carry will make traffic stops more dangerous for law enforcement.

State Rep. Artis “A.J." McCampbell (D-Livingston) said, “I spent 15 years of my life in law enforcement, and it is a dangerous profession.

“You are taking away a tool,” that law enforcement uses, McCampbell stated.

Proponents countered that the legislature addressed this situation last year when the bill establishing the prohibited list was passed. Anyone who has lost their gun rights due to committing a felony, has been convicted of domestic violence or has been declared mentally incompetent by a probate judge already are barred from possessing firearms. The database, which will be managed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) will allow a law enforcement officer to know whether or not a citizen is forbidden when he or she pulls them over in a traffic stop.

State Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) said, “The forbidden person database goes online on Oct. 1. When you run a tag, it will flag if that person is forbidden before you walk up to the car.”

“We did not have the database up and running,” said State Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Morris).

State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) added an amendment to the legislation that would require persons to answer correctly if asked by law enforcement if they are in possession of a firearm.

The House passed the legislation after two hours of debate. Debate was limited to two hours by the special order calendar that was utilized on Tuesday.

State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) has introduced permitless carry legislation every year that he has been in the legislature.

Sorrell told 1819 News, “It took four years, but we got it passed.”

“This vote was a win for the 2nd Amendment!,” Stringer said. “HB 272 (Constitutional Carry) just passed the House 65 to 37.  [So] 2/22/22 marks a major step for Alabama becoming the 22nd state to pass this legislation.”

HB272 now goes to the Alabama Senate for consideration. The State Senate has passed concealed carry legislation several times in the past, but Tuesday was the first time that it has ever passed the House.

Wednesday will be day 14 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. The legislature is limited to just 30 legislative days per year.

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