An Alabama Senate bill to allow concealed carry of firearms without a permit is widely opposed by law enforcement officials, and rightfully so.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, would banish the state requirement to obtain a permit, which varies from county to county on cost, ranging from $5 to $50. Cullman County charges $15 with an option for one to five years.

Proponents argue that the permits infringe on a person’s right to carry a firearm. Opponents say eliminating the permit system is a threat to public safety. Many of those opponents are sheriffs and police chiefs.

Law enforcement officials say the permits are a tool to apprehend criminals, stop crimes and protect communities. Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said when criminals see a law enforcement officer they will toss a weapon and run. If the permit requirement is abolished, those same people will carry the weapon without concern.

Law enforcement officers have the ability or leverage to remove potentially dangerous people out of the public with the permit system. If that no longer exists, the people we pay to protect our communities will see their powers reduced.

Proponents, such as the National Rifle Association, argue that law-abiding citizens have the right to defend themselves. That argument is certainly correct under the Second Amendment, which is a valuable part of the American foundation.

While some people may continue to purchase permits for sake of traveling over state lines legally with a firearm, the existing system has worked well and in no way challenges a person’s ability to defend life and property.

Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from a permit system. The arguments to end the requirement are nothing more than idealistic stances that are weak in substance.

The Second Amendment is alive and well in Alabama. Law enforcement leaders overwhelmingly oppose the Senate bill and their voices and experience should be heard.

It’s best to keep the permit system in place as a means of giving law enforcement more ability to protect residents.

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