Permitless carry decision remains a mystery

Published 9:59 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

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Judging from the reaction, no one really seems to understand the point of permitless carry, and rightfully so.

In March, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a new bill into law approving permitless carry, seemingly following a trend of other states around the country, as Alabama became the 22nd state to do so.

Many, however, remain confused by the decision that seems to have turned into a political debate, despite it being baseless to support either side.

Is it going to make a huge difference in our daily lives and crime rates? Probably not. Maybe a little, but most people won’t see a difference.

But that leads us back to the question of why it was even necessary to remove the concealed carry permit?

It honestly wasn’t hard to get one to begin with but added a layer of protection against those who were weeded out through background checks.

And it’s not the impact it could have on the majority of us that is worrisome, but the impact it could have on local law enforcement.

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego recently said there was a survey sent out to all 67 Alabama sheriffs that asked how many permits were turned down after running background checks. His response—6,000 people.

The number one reason they were turned down—mental health.

That is the biggest worry. It’s not the majority of us living our daily lives as law-abiding citizens and it’s not the criminals, who will find ways to get guns by… well, being a criminal.

No, it’s those who struggle with mental health issues, which has become a major concern for law enforcement due to erratic behavior that has to be judged on the fly if they are truly a criminal or someone having a breakdown.

That isn’t to say that the previous law wasn’t flawed and the new bill is bad, it’s just more confusing than anything because 99.9-percent of people who are carrying guns now could carry them with a concealed-carry permit as well.

Plus, background checks are still done when buying a gun due to federal regulations, so why not allow law enforcement to do the same when deciding if that gun should be allowed to be carried by an individual in public? In this state, 99.999 percent of the time, the answer is yes anyways.

The new bill will fix some flaws from the previous bill, but it will also come with flaws itself. It begs the question, is there a perfect balance? And the answer is, probably not.