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Alabama Senate Allows Concealed Carry Without Permit

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The Alabama state senate voted to allow people the right to conceal carry a firearm without a permit.

"Every citizen should have the right to bear arms without paying a fee," said Republican State Sen. Gerald Allen, who sponsored the bill, according to The Associated Press.

Under Alabama law, people are already allowed to carry a weapon without a license, as long as it is visible. But Allen said it made no sense to criminalize that firearm once the holder puts on a jacket or gets into a car.

The Alabama Senate approved the bill, which was backed by the National Rifle Association, 25 to 8. The bill effectively repealed several gun laws already in place, some dating all the way back to 1852, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

The bill will now go to the House, where it is expected to pass.

But the bill has had some resistance from law enforcement, including Capt. Michael Salomonsky of the Madison County Sheriff's Office, who told a Senate committee that the gun permits help police officers solve crimes.

"If our job is to protect the community, don't take our tools," Salomonsky said, according to the AP.

Montgomery Police Chief Lawrence Battiste also had concerns with the bill.

"MPD has read the proposed legislation and has concerns as to how it will affect law enforcement officers carrying out their daily duties and the public safety aspect of it for the community as a whole," Battiste said, according to WPMI. "The repealing of the current law will certainly increase the likelihood of law enforcement personnel interacting with armed individuals. Increasing contact with armed individuals brings about a potential increase in the escalation of force. Nonetheless, MPD will continue to enforce the laws as they are enacted by the Legislature."

Alabama Democrats accused their Republican counterparts of promoting looser gun laws as a way to "rebrand" the Republican Party.

"This is the first bill of the rebrand. Guns. This is the Wild, Wild West. This is Trump South," said Democratic State Sen. Bobby Singleton, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Singleton added: "I hope you take a friendly amendment saying we can bring our pistols in the chambers, because we’re going to be the only ones without a gun."

Democrats proposed to protect an amendment that would prohibit people with a diagnosed mental illness from being able to obtain firearm permits, but Republicans rejected it.

Sources: AP via WKRG, AP via U.S. News & World Report, Montgomery AdvertiserWPMI / Photo credit: Ibro Palic/Filckr

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