The Alabama chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action issued the following statement after the Alabama House Public Safety Committee voted to pass HB 272, dangerous legislation to eliminate Alabama’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public. If signed into law, this legislation would allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or background check — a policy shown to increase gun violence in other states. This vote comes despite vocal opposition from law enforcement entities across the state, including the Alabama Sheriffs Association and Police Chiefs Association.
“The Alabama House Public Safety Committee just chose gun extremists over public safety,” said Harriette Huggins, a volunteer with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action. “They’ve disregarded the expertise of law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line everyday, and they’ve jeopardized the wellbeing of our families and communities. If their job is to keep us safe, they’re failing miserably.”
States that have weakened their firearm permitting systems have experienced a 13-15 percent increase in violent crime rates and an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates. Permitless carry has been staunchly opposed by law enforcement across the country, including in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. More information about permitless carry is available here.
States with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun deaths; Alabama scores only 18 out of 100 for gun law strength while suffering the fifth-worst gun violence rate in the country. The concealed carry permit requirement is one of Alabama’s only remaining foundational gun safety laws, and today’s vote puts the state at risk of eliminating one of their last public safety laws and exacerbating their gun violence crisis.
In an average year, 1,090 people die by guns in the state, and 3,422 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Alabama. More information about gun violence in Alabama is available here.