Three states—Alabama, Texas and South Carolina—are currently vying to be the next state in the nation to do away with the requirement for law-abiding gun owners to be licensed by the government to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense.
This expansion of the “permitless,” or constitutional, carry movement represents a continuation of a march toward freedom occurring throughout the country.
On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed that state’s version of an NRA-backed permitless carry measure—Senate Bill 24—by a 25-6 vote. The bill now heads to the House, where it will likely be assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
Put simply, SB 24 would eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit to lawfully carry in the state.
“Every citizen should have the right to bear arms without paying a fee,” Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen, sponsor of the measure, told the Associated Press. Allen argues—quite logically—that Alabama is an open carry state, so it makes no sense to allow a person to carry a gun on a hip holster in public but require a permit if the person puts on a jacket or gets in a car.
As with most states considering permitless carry, Alabama would still leave the permitting system in effect for those who wish to participate in reciprocity agreements with other states.“Every citizen should have the right to bear arms without paying a fee.” — Alabama Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen.
In Texas, the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety on Tuesday also passed a permitless carry measure. HB 1911, which passed in the committee by a 6-2 vote, eliminates the requirement for obtaining a license to carry for law-abiding citizens who would otherwise meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for that license.
“I’m voting for it, and I’m proud to do so,” Republican state Rep. John Wray told statesman.com. “It’s the first bill to be voted on in the Texas House to allow permitless carry of a handgun.”
The bill now moves to the House Calendars Committee, which will decide if and when the measure receives consideration by the full House.
Meanwhile in South Carolina, efforts to pass permitless carry legislation are also moving forward. Like the House version, the Senate bill—SC Constitutional Carry Act of 2017—allows those who are legally permitted to own, carry or purchase a firearm to do so without having to obtain a permit. Open carry, which allows for a person to carry a firearm exposed on their person, also would be permitted.
Legislators pushing that measure are getting some support from high places. According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, Gov. Henry McMaster has endorsed the legislation, which would make it legal for those who can legally own a firearm to carry it concealed without a government-issued permit. “Gov. McMaster appreciates the House’s hard work on this bill, believes it is constitutional and will sign it if it reaches his desk,” spokesman Brian Symmes told the newspaper.
The state House of Representatives passed the measure earlier this month by a 64-46 vote. There are four weeks remaining in the session for the Senate to take up the bill.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.