- You don’t need a permit to carry guns in half of US states.
- Alabama’s permitless carry law went into effect with the start of the new year.
- Over the past two decades, gun control laws have weakened at the state and federal levels.
With the start of the new year, it became significantly easier for Alabamians to legally carry guns.
The state passed a law last year allowing people to carry concealed handguns without state permits, a change that went into effect on January 1.
The law signaled a gun rights landmark for the US: Now, half of the 50 states allow people to carry handguns without permits.
It’s a mark of how gun control rights have expanded within the US over the past two decades. In 2010, for instance, only two states allowed people to carry guns without permits. In the 13 years since, however, almost 24 states have passed similar laws, 11 of which were greenlit in the last three years, The Huffington Post’s Roque Planas reported Sunday.
State governments have loosened gun control over the past 20 years, even as activism in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and others ramped up. More than 600 mass shootings transpired in the US in 2022, making it the second-highest annual total for mass shootings on record, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit tracking gun violence.
There were more mass shootings in the last half decade than in any other five-year period going back to 1966, the Marshall Project found last year.
One recent study from left-leaning public policy think tank Center for American Progress found that homicide rates were higher in states with weaker gun laws.
Alabama lawmakers in particular faced pressure from pro-gun advocates and groups such as the National Rifle Association to pass the new law.
It’s proved politically popular for many Republicans across the country. Over 100 television ads from GOP Midterm candidates have used guns as talking points or “visual motifs” last year, according to a New York Times analysis.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey highlighted her support for the law during her re-election campaign, which included an ad showing Ivey at her desk at the Alabama Capitol pulling a handgun out of her purse, followed by lipstick and a cell phone.
“Lipstick, an iPhone, maybe a little Smith & Wesson .38,” she says.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that the US Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense in a 6-3 decision that dramatically expanded Second Amendment rights — a move that the Department of Justice opposed.