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Alabama Senate Approves House Constitutional Carry Bill, with Amendments

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would repeal the state’s law requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration of final passage.

Looking at Legiscan, HB 272 passed the full Senate, 23 to 5, with 7 abstaining, on March 3rd, 2022. Four Republicans and three Democrats abstained from voting. They may have agreed not to vote, with offsetting votes. It is a common tactic that does not affect whether the bill passes or not.

Three amendments were added to the Senate committee.

The first amendment was a requirement for an armed person to inform an officer of the law if the armed person was asked by the officer if the person was armed. In this case, being armed includes if a firearm is in the vehicle occupied by the person. The armed person is required to answer the officer truthfully.

The second amendment made clear if a person was on private property, and were personally informed they were not allowed to be armed on the property, they would be required to leave. If they did not leave, they would be charged with criminal trespass. This is a reinforcement of the way trespassing is enforced in most states. What is different in this statute, is the law requires the prosecution of armed trespassers if they refuse to leave, removing much discretion about enforcement of the law. From the amendment:

“(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a violation of this section shall be prosecuted as a criminal trespass in the third degree pursuant to Section2613A-7-4.

The third amendment is a way for the state to reimburse Sheriff’s offices for revenue lost if the number of permits decreases. That provision sunsets after three years.

Because of the amendments, the bill will go back to the House for concurrence. If HB 272 is passed in the House, as it was passed in the Senate, then it would be sent to Governor Kay Ivey for signature or veto.

It appears to this correspondent, the amendments will be accepted by the House, in order to pass HB 272.

The Constitutional Carry bill in Ohio is in the administrative process of being sent to Governor  DeWine. Because of the amendments to the Alabama bill, it is likely the Ohio bill will be signed first, making it the 22nd state to become a member of the Constitutional Carry club.

The Alabama Constitutional Carry bill, HB 272, appears to be likely to be passed and to be signed by Governor Ivey.

Neither bill is yet law. Many things can happen before they become law.

When either bill becomes law, Constitutional Carry will be the most common way for state legislatures to treat the issue of carry of handguns outside the home. This might have some bearing on the New York Rifle and Pistol Association case now before the Supreme Court. The opinion is expected in June of 2022.

It seems likely both bills will become law before the end of March, 2022. If that happens, Ohio and Alabama will become the 22 and 23 Constitutional Carry states in the Constitutional Carry club.

The current members of the Constitutional Carry club are:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Other states are considering Constitutional Carry in their legislatures, including Georgia, Nebraska, Florida, and Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania passed a Constitutional Carry bill, but was unable to override the Governor’s veto.

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