MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In just about three weeks Alabama will be one of a growing number of states that no longer requires a pistol permit for carrying a concealed handgun. “Constitutional Carry” was championed by 2nd Amendment absolutists but some in law enforcement –who also support private gun ownership –worry this could make people less safe.

By Jan. 1, 2023 there will hardly be a need for a pistol permit in Alabama. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office will still sell them after “Constitutional Carry” goes into effect. For some, the permits still have some use.

“Well if you travel a lot out of state, you need that pistol permit, otherwise it can get to be a hassle,” said Tracy Robertson as he was getting a permit renewed. Not only is it a loss of revenue but law enforcement argues it’s a loss of a public safety tool for them and the public. Mobile County Sheriff-Elect Paul Burch says he supports legal gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment but worries about the new challenges for deputies when approaching uncertain situations like a traffic stop. Burch says it’s likely more people being stopped will also be armed.

“A lot of them may be people who shouldn’t conceal guns and that takes away our mechanism to arrest and potentially find other charges,” said Burch. The National Association for Gun Rights is one group that’s pushed for “Constitutional Carry.” They argue law enforcement is no less safe and will adjust to the change.

“This isn’t a sky is falling instance, there have been states that have had constitutional carry laws on the books for a decade now and we’re not hearing law enforcement complaining about it,” said Brenden Boudreau with the National Association for Gun Rights. “You have criminals who don’t follow the law so this doesn’t change how law enforcement approach those situations.”

Burch says he sees plenty of scenarios where deputies see a group of people who might be a risk to the public but now have no cause to stop them.

“You can see clearly they have guns under their shirts and they’re probably up to no good but if that’s all you see, once this passes you can’t approach them and ask them,” said Burch. “Constitutional Carry starts on Jan. 1. Sheriff’s offices have lost thousands of dollars due to the coming change in the law. Birch says the MCSO has lost $700,000 this year in permit fees.