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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The Alabama Senate has begun debate on a proposal to allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a getting a permit.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Tuesday that he expected the GOP-controlled Senate to pass the measure.

The bill has been heavily criticized by some law enforcement officers who say the permits are needed for public safety. Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa, the bill’s sponsor, said that people shouldn’t have to pay to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 11 states allow people to carry concealed weapons in public without a permit. Most of those states still issue concealed weapon permits, as would Alabama, for people who may want them to carry in other states.

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