BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 5 (UPI) -- The Alabama state Senate Friday passed and sent to the House of Representatives a bill that would allow free lifetime permits to carry pistols in vehicles.
Bill sponsor Sen. Scott Beason, a Republican, said people who received a permit to carry in their vehicles must undergo a background check and the permits could be revoked if, for example, the permit-holder committed a crime, AL.com reported.
The measure passed 28-5.
Alabama's existing law requires a concealed-carry permit to carry a pistol in a vehicle.
"This is about making sure that law-abiding citizens have the ability to defend themselves and their family," Beason said.
People still need permits to carry concealed pistols on their person outside of their vehicle but if they have a concealed-carry permit to carry a pistol on their person, they wouldn't need a separate permit for carrying a pistol in a vehicle, AL.com said.
The bill included language stating carrying a "visible, holstered firearm in a public place, in and of itself," does not constitute the crime of disorderly conduct.
Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, a Democrat, opposed the bill, saying, "We're going to end up with Alabama being like the wild, wild West."
The Business Council of Alabama opposed the bill, saying it would erode constitutional property rights of businesses because of a provision that would bar an employer from prohibiting employees from storing a gun in their private vehicle at work.
Among other things, the measure would require sheriffs to decide within 30 days whether to issue a concealed-carry pistol permit. Current law has no time limit for a decision.
The bill would allow people to buy concealed-carry pistol permits good for as much as five years, up from the requirement for annual renewal.