Alabama will no longer require a background check or permits to allow residents to conceal and carry handguns. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law on Thursday, and it will go into effect next January.

“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law-abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” Ivey said in a statement. “I have always stood up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and I am proud to do that again today.”

The state House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill 70-29. The Alabama Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass it on to the governor 24-6.

Alabama joins 21 other states in not requiring a permit to conceal and carry, including Texas, Arkansas and Montana. Georgia’s House and Senate recently passed the policy through, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to sign it into law.

Gun rights advocates call the legislation “constitutional carry,” referring to the Second Amendment.

“NRA (National Rifle Association) will continue to champion this God-given right until every state in the nation is a constitutional carry state,” said NRA director Jason Ouimet.

The state already did not require permits to openly carry. The Alabama Sheriff’s Association was a vocal opponent of the legislation, contending that the new law would make it easy for people to neglect to register their guns.

In 2020, Alabama came in fifth-highest in the nation for gun-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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