(WTVM) - After months of negotiations between several Alabama state entities, State Bill 286 is heading to the desk of Governor Robert Bentley after passing the House in a 73-28 vote Monday.
Under the bill, businesses can not prohibit their employees from having firearms in their cars while at work. However, employees must have a license to carry a concealed weapon.
Also, sheriffs now have complete discretion over requests for concealed weapons permits and must issue a written justification for denying a permit.
"It does take Alabama from a 'may' issue state to a 'shall' issue state in regards to the issuance of the permit by county sheriffs throughout the state of Alabama, and it does allow some discretion in regard to sheriffs restricting some individuals based on certain criteria," explains Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
The bill now allows the open, visible carry of weapons except in many government and public buildings where government bodies hold meetings.
"That was an issue that was not very clear in the past and this does settle that issue in regard to that so it basically isn't a disorderly conduct issue if a person is in public with a secured weapon that's visible," says Jones.
Supporters of the bill believe this will strengthen the public's ability for self-defense, where opponents feel it will impact security in the workplace.