U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– On February 2nd, 2022, the Alabama Constitutional Carry bill, SB1. passed a major hurdle: it was sent to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation from the Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote. From alreporter.com:
Senate Bill 1, which would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, which is also referred to as “constitutional carry,” received a favorable report 6-4, with one member abstaining. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The committee also passed Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Allen, that, if passed, would prohibit local and state law enforcement from participating in the implementation or enforcement of any federal law related to firearms.
SB1 has strong support in the Alabama Senate. It seems likely the Senate will pass the bill and send it to the Alabama House. In past years, Constitutional Carry bills have died in the House, where the Alabama Sheriffs Association has lobbied strongly to kill them.
Alabama Sheriffs are paid permit fees for concealed carry permits directly. This gives them an important and independent source of revenue. While the fees are only a few dollars each, about one-third of all adults in Alabama have concealed carry permits. This amounts to the income of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in counties with large populations.
A few weeks ago, on January 5th, the Republican caucus in the Alabama House passed their agenda for the 2022 session. From alhousegop.org:
“Our 2022 ‘Standing Tall for Alabama’ agenda is a broad-based plan that positively affects every Alabamian and makes our state an even better place to live, work, worship, and raise a family,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R – Rainsville) said. “While other bills will certainly be introduced, debated, and voted upon during the 2022 session, Republican House members have unanimously pledged to prioritize and pass through our chamber the measures that are included in our agenda.”
The statement is very bold, indeed. The Republicans hold a super-majority of 77 members out of 105 in the Alabama House. Here is the agenda position on “Constitutional Carry”:
• The Alabama House Republican Caucus will pass “Constitutional Carry” legislation that fully embraces the tenets of the Second Amendment and allows law-abiding Alabamians to carry firearms without first having to pay a gun tax in the form of permit fees for their already guaranteed right.
With a pledge of all 77 members of the Republican members of the House to pass Constitutional Carry (permitless carry), as a priority, it is difficult to see how a bill such as SB1 will not pass. There are numerous ways to stop bills, of course.
It is not unheard of for politicians to make promises fail to follow through, and then make excuses.
To this correspondent’s knowledge, this is the first time the Republican Caucus in the Alabama House of representatives has listed Constitutional Carry as a priority to pass.
The Senate is expected to pass SB1 reasonably soon. Then it will be up to the House of Representatives. In the House, there is a similar bill, HB 66. HB 66 has yet to be brought up for a vote, even though it has 36 sponsors in the House. If Constitutional Carry is stalled in a House committee, or never comes up for a vote, Alabama citizens may conclude that promises made by the House Republicans mean little.
Alabama has a short legislative session. It is expected to end on April 25, 2022.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.