Half of the nation's states can carry guns without having to pay a fee or have government permission. As of Sunday, January 1, constitutional legislation allowing concealed weapons to be carried in public went into effect in 25 of 50 states. Alabama and Georgia were the latest to join the list that already includes Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The picture is quite different from thirteen years ago, when only Vermont and Alaska allowed their citizens to carry guns without a permit. However, as Breitbart recalls, in 2010 Arizona joined; a year later, in 2011, Wyoming and from there, state after state joined in until April 12, 2022 when Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the law making Georgia the 25th state to allow constitutional carry.
Alabama debuts right to carry concealed weapons without a permit
Georgia was not the only state where this rule went into effect on January 1. Alabama also began the year by joining constitutional legislation allowing its citizens to carry concealed weapons in public without a permit.
The proposal for the new state law, which was tabled unsuccessfully for years in Montgomery, has both supporters and detractors. On the side of those in favor, reports The Washington Times, is the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, which welcomes the fact that the rule is now in effect. Its representative and sponsor of the legislation, Shane Stringer, stressed that the regulation only modifies the need to obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons in public:
It’s going to be a big step to help the average law-abiding citizen to keep them from having to go through the hoops of getting a permit to carry their weapons. It’s not going change who can and cannot carry a gun. People that are prohibited now are still prohibited.
In his statement, Stringer noted that there are still public places where the restriction on carrying guns entirely for security reasons will continue, such as courthouses.
It is still recommended to obtain a permit to carry firearms in public
The Alabama Sheriffs' Association is among the opponents of the legislation. However, as Lee County Sheriff and Alabama Sheriffs' Association Jay Jones said, they were prepared for it to go into effect: "Alabama sheriffs are clear on the law taking effect Jan. 1 and have adjusted accordingly."
In addition, as Stringer did, he recommended that citizens consider obtaining a permit to avoid problems elsewhere. "Maintaining an Alabama concealed carry permit is wise when traveling out of state; reciprocity applies - other states may require non-residents to have a permit from their state of residence," he noted.
Nebraska, next state to join the legislation?
The 25 states that currently have a law allowing their citizens to carry concealed weapons in public may soon be joined by Nebraska. Tom Brewer, a senator from Nebraska, recently attempted to introduce a proposal that was rejected.
However, the results of the midterms has given the Republican politician hope that, this time, his proposal will go through, as he stated to Channel 8 in June 2022, when his proposal was rejected by only two votes:
The very first bill that I will drop in the next session will be constitutional carry. What the decision today has done has helped us to better shine a light on why it’s important, and to take away some of the concerns folks had about legalities. If you’re a legally responsible person, who can be in possession of a firearm, then that should be your right to be able to carry.
Senator Megan Hunt, however, will fight to prevent the bill from going forward. "My concern is around who has access to guns, and then who appoints themselves in this position of being a vigilante law enforcement officer," she said.
She is not the only one against the regulation. Lincoln Police Union and the Lincoln Police Department opposed the bill and will again oppose Brewer´s proposal for Nebraska to join the 25 states that already allow their citizens to carry concealed weapons without a concealed weapons permit.