Allowing concealed gun-carry without a permit is now the most common policy in the country.
A joint conference committee of Alabama state Senators and Representatives came to an agreement on a version of a permitless carry bill on Thursday. The bill was then sent to Governor Kay Ivey (R.), who immediately signed it into law.
“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” Governor Ivey said in a statement. “I have always stood up for the rights of law-abiding gunowners, and I am proud to do that again today.”
The move makes Alabama the 22nd state in the country to enact a permitless gun carry regime, officially making the practice more common than both “shall-issue” and “may-issue” permitting policies. Following Ohio and Indiana, Alabama is the third state to pass a permitless carry bill in 2022. It’s the first to sign it into law.
Alabama state representative Shane Stringer (R.), the bill’s primary sponsor, applauded the law’s passage.
“I am deeply thankful to my colleagues in the Legislature for passing this constitutional carry measure, which allows Alabamians to exercise their fundamental rights without first having to pay a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said in a statement. “Those who still wish to purchase a permit for reciprocity with other states or other reasons continue to retain that option under this law.”
The law was signed over vocal opposition from certain law enforcement groups, including the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, who said permitless carry would jeopardize public safety. Individual sherriffs in Alabama also voiced concern that doing away with permitting would remove a major source of revenue.
The final version of the law provides a $5 million fund to replace lost revenue.
National gun-control advocacy groups decried the bill after it cleared the state legislature.
“One thing has been made crystal clear — Alabama lawmakers will stop at nothing to appease the gun lobby,” Paula Wilson, a volunteer with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “They’re willing to do the bidding of extremists, even if it means jeopardizing the lives of our families and first responders. They have chosen violence over public safety.”
The NRA, which backed the bill, called it “the most significant pro-Second Amendment measure in Alabama history.”
“As law enforcement is being defunded and criminals aren’t being prosecuted, it is more important than ever that law-abiding Americans’ right to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their homes is fully recognized,” NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet said in a statement. “NRA will continue to champion this God-given right until every state in the nation is a constitutional carry state.”
The law will go into effect in January of 2023.