State of Alabama House Representative Corey Harbison has a new bill on the table after the House and Senate passed Senate Bill that would give the residence the ability to have a lifetime concealed carry permit. Although many would initially look at this bill that was sponsored by Senator Randy Price, R-Opelika, and Rep. Proncey Robertson, R-Mount Hope as a good, once you dive in and dissect the bill, many are not happy, including a lot of law enforcement agencies. The newly passed bill would make concealed carry permits lifetime with a cost of $300 or $150 for applicants over 60. This bill would also create a database for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to be able to track law-abiding citizens and rather they potentially carry a firearm or not.

The Senate passed the bill with a 25-6 vote, while the House passed 69-18. It will now go to Gov. Kay Ivey, who could sign into law. Once this bill becomes a law, local Sheriff’s Offices will no longer receive the full amount of concealed carry money made from selling the permits. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will receive 20% of the funds while local Sheriff’s Offices will receive the other 80%. Losing these funds could potentially put a damper on the Sheriff’s Offices as they use these funds to help pay for a variety of programs and much-needed upgrades.

Representative Corey Harbison has introduced a constitutional amendment that would make Cullman County an exception, and the cost to conceal a firearm would be zero dollars. You will have the ability to donate to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office if you would like to contribute. Cullman would not be required to send personal information related to pistol permits or persons prohibited from carrying a firearm except when required by federal law or court order. If passed, House Bill 607 would be placed on a ballot to be voted on by the citizens.

House Bill 607 introduced by Rep. Corey Harbison:

Under existing law, the sheriff of a county may issue a permit authorizing a person to carry a pistol in a motor vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person. The term of a pistol permit is one to five years, and the cost of a pistol permit is established by local law.

This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 relating to Cullman County to provide that the sheriff may not charge any fee to a resident of the county for issuance, renewal, or replacement of any pistol permit.

The amendment would allow an applicant for a pistol permit at the time of application to make a donation to the sheriff’s office. The donations would be deposited into a discretionary fund for use by the sheriff for law enforcement purposes.

The amendment would also provide that the Sheriff of Cullman County shall not be required to send any person any information relating to pistol permits or persons prohibited from possession of a firearm, with exceptions.

Harbison said, “I am a supporter of constitutional carry and will continue being pro 2nd amendment. I have been asked by several citizens why we don’t exempt permits in Cullman County. The issue becomes when Cullman citizens travel outside of the county where they would be required to have a permit. This would create confusion and the possibility of arrest. HB 607 is the best we can come up with at the moment, but we will continue to fight.

“Sheriff Matt Gentry was concerned about the Senate bill passed and requested the local Cullman Delegation to construct a bill that would make permits in Cullman FREE.

“From the time I was elected sheriff until now, I always tried to be upfront with the citizens about law enforcement issues concerning Cullman County and particularly any that would affect their tax dollars.

That is why I worked with Rep. Corey Harbison in 2018 to let the people vote, and they changed, for the better, the way we manage inmate meal money. That is why when I saw the Alabama Legislature pass SB 308, also called, Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act, I asked our local delegation to draft a local constitution amendment that Cullman County Citizens could vote on.

SB 308 has several things in this legislation that I do not think are good for Cullman County citizens. It will require a statewide database for “prohibited persons.” I believe this database could be used by the state or others to have access to lawful gun owners’ personal information.

It will also require citizens to pay $300 for a lifetime permit even if they can’t afford one. It raises the age to get a permit from 18 years old to 19 years old and send a portion of our citizen’s tax dollars to Montgomery.

This is why I asked Rep. Corey Harbison, a former deputy sheriff, to introduce to the local Constitution Amendment in the House (HB607) to be voted on by Cullman County citizens. In addition to HB 607, Senator Garlan Gudger will be dropping a mirrored senate bill to HB607, which would allow citizens to give a donation for a permit if they wished to. Otherwise, the permit would be free to the citizen. Cullman County will also NOT send its citizen’s personal information to the statewide database. An 18 year old would also still be able to request a permit, and in the event, Constitutional Carry was passed, this local bill would nullified.

As Sheriff of Cullman County, it’s my number one priority to keep the citizens safe. I firmly believe by passing this local Constitution Amendment, that is what we would be doing.” – Sheriff Matt Gentry.