On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives did not vote on permitless carry, so final passage of the legislation is still up in the air.
House Bill 274 (HB274) is sponsored by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Satsuma).
The bill would the requirement that Alabama gun owners must purchase a concealed carry permit, also called a pistol permit, from their sheriff in order to carry their handguns with them in an automobile or concealed under a coat or in a purse or briefcase. Sheriffs currently can legally deny a person a permit.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday after an earlier version of the bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 1.
“Today, the Senate voted 23-6 to pass House Bill 272, constitutional carry,” the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Affairs (NRA-ILA) wrote on Thursday. “It will now go back to the House for concurrence before it heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.”
The House did not vote on concurrence on Tuesday.
The NRA-ILA wrote, “Constitutional carry strengthens Alabamians’ right to self-defense by allowing any law-abiding adult who is at least 21 years old and legally eligible to obtain a carry permit, to carry a handgun without first having to obtain government permission. This ensures that citizens have their right to self-defense without red tape, delays, or fees. It does not change who is eligible to obtain a carry permit. It also does not affect previously issued permits and allows citizens who still wish to obtain a permit in order to carry in other states recognizing Alabama’s permits, to do so.”
The Senate addressed some concerns in the version that passed the Senate on Thursday, but the Senate substitute also added a number of new provisions to placate critics from the law enforcement community.
One of those provisions that is drawing some criticism is a new requirement that a lawful gun owner must surrender their weapon for inspection by any member of law enforcement whether or not the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the gun is stolen. No warrant is required for this constitutionally questionable weapons check requirement.
The Senate also created a $5 million fund to make up for any lost revenues by sheriffs from declining pistol permit sales. It also creates a gun crime if a citizen touches their weapon during an encounter with law enforcement and requires that citizens disclose if they have a weapon when asked to do so by law enforcement.
Some Second Amendment activists are urging the House to vote not to concur and send the bill to a conference committee.
Eddie Fulmer is the President of Bamacarry.
“On Thursday, 3-3-22, the Senate version of HB272 was passed on the floor to be returned to the House for another vote due to changes made in the Senate,” Fulmer wrote. “The House version, as it left the House, was an acceptable bill and BamaCarry supported it. However, the Senate effectively raped the bill and filled it with gun control. Amendments that will cause normal citizens to be arrested for violations they know nothing about, fill the pages. These amendments effectively violate the 4th and 5th Amendments by requiring you to offer up your weapon for inspection of serial numbers, and more, if an officer simply wants you to. Not only that, but you must declare your weapon anytime an officer asks you to. Nazi Germany anyone? If this passes, signs will now have the weight of law, and you’ll be a criminal if you walk past one, accident or not. How did this happen to a good bill? Bureaucrats, that’s how. Oh, and big-money donors who tell our elected officials what amendments to put up and how to vote. How can we keep our gun rights intact when our own legislators, so easily, are giving/taking them away? No compromise means no compromise. We do NOT support the bill as amended in the Senate. We just can’t. It’s more gun control instead of permitless carry. Liberty’s meaning has been lost by money and ignorance. This is exactly what we were warned about by our founders.”
Baldwin County Attorney Harry Still III told 1819 News that he was very disappointed with the Senate version of the bill and that he hoped the House does strip some of the Senate provisions off of the bill.
Still is challenging incumbent Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall in the Republican primary.
The organization "Moms Demand Action Alabama" opposes the legislation in any form.
“The Alabama Senate has shown their allegiance to gun extremists over Alabamans’ safety,” Susan Kirkpatrick said in a statement for the group. “Despite opposition from people of every walk of life – from law enforcement to parents who just want to keep their kids safe, lawmakers have let us down and endangered innocent lives.”
The House could vote to concur with the Senate changes as soon as Wednesday when the House goes into session at 4:00 p.m.
If the House votes not to concur, the future of HB274 becomes very murky. Stringer and State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) who carried the bill in the House would join four other legislators in a conference committee tasked with producing a compromise version of HB274. If the conferees can reach a consensus, each House will have to then vote to concur with the conference committee version of the bill.
Wednesday will be day 20 of the Alabama Regular Legislative Session.
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