Alabama became the 22nd state with permitless, unrestricted, or constitutional carry this afternoon. Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) signed House Bill 272 which will go into effect in January 2023. When I first started publishing this graphic created by Rob Vance in 2011, the unrestricted or blue section at the upper right of the graphic was rather small. Now over a quarter of all Americans live in a state with unrestricted carry.
Furthermore, as I write this, the governors of the states of Ohio and Indiana both have unrestricted carry bills awaiting their signature. If those states join Alabama, another 7% of the United States population will reside in unrestricted carry states.
Gov. Ivey had this to say in her signing statement:
“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,” said Governor Ivey. “I have always stood up for the rights of law abiding gunowners, and I am proud to do that again today.”
The primary sponsor of this bill was Rep. Shane Stringer (R – Mobile). He brought the amended bill to the floor of the Alabama House today and it was approved in a 70-29 vote mostly – but not entirely – along party lines. The Alabama Senate then approved it in a 24-6 vote. The House had originally passed it on February 22nd but then the Senate made amendments which pushed it to a conference committee.
Rep. Stringer had this to say about the bill’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.”
Stringer also noted that the law does establish a database of prohibited persons which he contends is more important than whether one had a permit or not. He contended there were some Alabama sheriffs who did not conduct background checks before issuing – or selling – permits.
Stringer himself has had a long career in law enforcement. He served as a deputy in the Mobile County Sheriffs Department and was also the police chief of the towns of Citronelle and Satsuma.
George Owens, Legislative Director of the Alabama Gun Rights Network, pointed out some of the details of the bill in this post.
First it means that if you can legally own a pistol you don’t need a permit to carry that pistol openly or concealed, or in your vehicle.
Second, you can still buy a permit including the lifetime permit that will become available later this year.
Your permit remains important to legally protect you from being criminally charged under certain circumstances.
You must have a permit if you carry a pistol onto a school grounds or at any school function like at a football game. This includes having a pistol in your vehicle when picking your child up. This is a federal law and it is taken very seriously.
You may not carry onto the private property of another person unless you have a permit, OR have the permission of the owner of the property.
Your permit will still grant you carry privileges in the roughly 22 states that have reciprocity agreements with Alabama. That includes Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, to name a few.
Regardless of whether you prefer to call it the Yellowhammer State or the Heart of Dixie, congratulations to all Alabamans on the hard won freedom.