Proposals to recognize that the Second Amendment is all that’s needed to legally carry a concealed handgun are on the move. In recent weeks, bills in Alabama, Tennessee and Utah have been spooled up to codify permitless concealed carry.
The concept, law of the land in 16 states, retain statewide concealed carry permitting schemes for those looking to take advantage of their reciprocity benefits while traveling. The change is that said permits and licenses are not needed for lawful adult gun owners looking to carry in public within the state.
On Thursday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a permitless carry bill 6-4, moving it to the full Senate for further consideration. Sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, who has backed such measures in the past, the bill is opposed by county sheriffs who fear a drop in permit fees they currently use as a source of revenue.
Notably, the Yellowhammer State’s neighbor to the West, Mississippi, has recognized permitless carry of holstered or bagged handguns for the past several years. Likewise, Alabama already has open carry without a license.
Just days after Republican Gov. Bill Lee, flanked by legislative leaders, signaled support of a constitutional carry measure, the state Senate Judiciary Committee passed such a measure on a party-line, 7-2 vote. Senate Bill 2671 is set for further hearings this month and has the support of national pro-gun groups.
The NRA says the bill “ensures that no honest, hard-working Tennessean is left defenseless while waiting for government permission to carry a firearm. This legislation fully recognizes the right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm for self-defense, giving Tennesseans the freedom to choose the best method of carrying for themselves.”
Joining ranks with urban Democrats and anti-gun groups, the bill is opposed by some firearm instructors in the Volunteer State as it waives requirements for state-approved training before carrying, which is sometimes expensive.
In the Beehive State, Utah state Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, this week introduced H.B. 472 which provides that an individual who is 21 years or older and may lawfully possess a firearm, may carry concealed in a public area without a permit. However, it may not get far.
“Being this late in the session, the bill is not going to make it through. My purpose is to get the bill language together for next year’s session,” Brooks told the Deseret News.
Although the state legislature approved a permitless carry bill in 2013, Republican Gov. Gary Hebert scuttled the proposal when it reached his desk and has been reluctant to embrace one since. Critically, Herbert announced last year that he will not seek re-election in 2020, which means a rebooted constitutional carry measure has more luck with his successor, something Brooks seems to be banking on.
States with permitless carry laws include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.