- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - People would be able to carry loaded pistols in their vehicles without a concealed carry permit, under a proposal pending in the Alabama Legislature.

Bill sponsor Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, said people should be able to keep a loaded weapon in their car, just as they can their house, without paying a fee.

“I don’t believe you ought to have to pay for your 2nd Amendment rights,” Beason said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill Wednesday by a 6-2 vote. The bill now moves to the full Senate.

Currently, people can keep a pistol in the car without a permit, but the weapon must be unloaded, locked away and out of reach. Beason said an unloaded pistol is of no use to the driver.

“You should be able to have a useable weapon,” Beason said.

Concealed carry permits require applicants to undergo a background check and pay a fee.

The Alabama Sheriffs’ Association opposed the bill at an earlier public hearing, citing concern for public safety and the loss of permit fees to counties.

Bobby Timmons, executive director of the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association, argued last week that having a loaded pistol in a car driven in public is different from keeping a loaded pistol at home.

Beason wanted to make the change in sweeping gun legislation last year. However, it was left out of a compromise bill negotiated with business groups and law enforcement.

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