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Alabama’s new concealed gun law continues to draw criticism.

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The state’s new concealed weapon law took effect on New Year’s Day. It allows gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The Alabama Sheriff’s Association opposed the idea. The group says the measure could allow people to have a gun without registering it. The Giffords Law Center says Texas passed a similar law and there was an increase of people being arrested for illegally possessing a gun. Allison Anderman is a senior counsel at the Center. She says what Texas is going through should send a message to Alabama…

“And this indicates, that people are carrying guns in public under that new law, even when they’re legally prohibited from doing so It reasons that something similar may happen in Alabama,” Anderman contends.

The new state law ends the requirement for a person to get a permit to legally carry a concealed handgun in public. A person can still choose to get a permit if they want to do so. The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, which lobbied for the Alabama legislation, said back in April that twenty five states allow permitless carry. Anderman says Alabamians who don’t like the new law should take action at the ballot box…

“I guess an overall message is that guns do not keep us safe. If they did, we’d be the safest nation from gun violence by a mile,” said Anderman. “But, we are the least safe among developed nations.”

Proponents of the bill argued that it will be a better system to remove guns from people who cannot legally possess them. Opponents argued the database will only be as good as the data that is entered into it and information gaps will be inevitable. Lawmakers included language in the new law reiterating an officer's ability to temporarily take a handgun during a traffic stop or other investigation. An officer with a reasonable suspicion that a person was about to engage in criminal conduct can temporarily take a handgun and run it through databases to see if the gun was stolen.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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