While some states are looking to 2022 to double-down on gun control, Alabama appears to be moving in the opposite direction.
Lawmakers have filed at least nine bills before the next legislative session aimed at liberalizing concealed carry laws and prohibiting state actors from enforcing federal firearms regulations. The cacophony of legislation is likely to consolidate as lawmakers debate these policies in committee, but right now, the bills adopt a variety of measures related to these two topics.
House Bill 44, Senate Bill 1, House Bill 6, and Senate Bill 12 would all eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit before carrying a concealed firearm. HB 44 and SB 1 are companion bills, and HB 44 has secured sponsorships from 39 Republican state representatives, including Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon.
HB 6 and SB 12 are also similar to each other. Along with allowing for constitutional carry, these bills would revise the presumption in state law that a person carrying a pistol without a permit is prima facie evidence of intent to commit a crime of violence.
Rep. Shane Stringer, the primary sponsor for HB 6, recently posted on Twitter that Alabama will be the next state to pass constitutional carry.
Alabama is next! https://t.co/QHcxcSgzdd— Representative Shane Stringer (@RepStringer) November 17, 2021
At least one Alabama sheriff has voiced opposition to constitutional carry. Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran called the bill “very dangerous” in a county commissioner meeting last week while debating Rep. Stringer, who used to be one of his deputies. Cochran reportedly fired Stringer due to their disagreement on this issue.
“I think we have the momentum,” Stringer told local media. “With the sheriff terminating me over this issue, it has drawn a lot of attention to it.”
Along with sponsoring HB 6, Stringer is one of the cosponsors on HB 44, which has the most sponsors of any constitutional carry legislation.
Lawmakers will also consider adding Alabama to the list of Second Amendment sanctuary states. Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 7 would both create the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act. Like similar laws in other states, this legislation would prohibit state law enforcement from enforcing any law that regulates firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition.
House Bill 13 is similar, but it further declares that firearms, accessories, and ammunition made and sold in Alabama are not subject to federal regulation.
All bills stand a good chance of passing the Republican-controlled legislature, though constitutional carry has so far been unable to overcome opposition from sheriffs.
There are currently 21 states that allow some form of permitless concealed carry, according to the USCCA.