Gun rights are up for debate in the state Legislature, again.
A set of bills to get rid of the requirement to carry a permit in order to carry a concealed pistol was up in front of a House committee Tuesday.
Advocates say the legislation is long overdue and the legislation wouldn’t take away the regulations on who can carry a firearm.
But opponents say it erodes gun safety.
“I think it’s really important to keep that in place and not just do away with it and let anyone and everyone that wants to have a weapon have a weapon,” said Democratic Representative and chair of the Gun Violence Prevention caucus Robert Wittenberg.
Supporters say there is already no permit required for open carry of a firearm. They call the concealed weapon permit requirement a “coat tax”. Because once you put your coat on, you need to purchase a permit.
Republican Representative Michele Hoitenga is a bill sponsor. She said the current differences between open carry and conceal carry are confusing.
“Anyone without the background checks can already carry, so it’s no different,” she said. “The only thing that is making it different is this one millimeter piece of clothing.”
But some members of law enforcement are not on board.
David Hiller is with the Fraternal Order of Police. He said their organization, “strongly opposes” the legislation in large part because it gets rid of gun training requirements.
“So to put a firearm in the hands of someone with no required training to us is absolutely absurd,” he said.
Supporters counter that many who want a firearm will want and get training on their own without a permit requirement.