The Alabama chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action issued the following statement after the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1, dangerous legislation to eliminate Alabama’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in public. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also in the process of hearing public testimony on SB 12, another permitless carry bill. 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. On Tuesday, multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, held a press conference to voice opposition to permitless carry in the state. SB 1 is now eligible for a full Senate vote.
“Today’s vote sent a clear message,” said Paula Wilson, a volunteer with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action. “State lawmakers think they know more about public safety than the officers who risk their lives to protect it. The Senate Judiciary Committee has moved our state one step further in the wrong direction, and legislators need to correct course before our communities are forced to pay the price.”
What to know about permitless carry in Alabama:
- Permitless carry legislation would allow people to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit or background check, dismantling Alabama’s culture of responsible gun ownership.
- Permitless carry legislation would also take away a critical tool that law enforcement uses to differentiate between responsible gun owners and those who are prohibited from possessing guns, making it easy for people with dangerous histories – including extremists and white supremacists with criminal histories – to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public.
- States with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun deaths – and in Alabama the concealed carry permit requirement is the last foundational gun safety law on the books, putting the state at risk of eliminating one of their last public safety laws and exacerbating their gun violence crisis.
- States that have weakened their firearm permitting system 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.
Under current Alabama law, sheriffs have discretion to deny concealed carry permits to people who present a justifiable public safety concern. Permitless carry legislation like SB 1 would remove this critical protection, further weakening the state’s gun laws and exacerbating the already devastating rate of gun violence in Alabama communities. The Alabama Sheriffs Association and Police Chiefs Association have been vocal about their opposition to permitless carry legislation.
Alabama has weak firearm laws, scoring only 18 out of 100 for gun law strength while suffering the fifth-worst gun violence rate in the country. In an average year, 1,090 people die by guns in the state, and 3,422 more are wounded. Guns are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens in Alabama. More information about gun violence in Alabama is available here.