The legislation – passed 27-11 in the Republican-led chamber – next goes to the Republican-led House for its consideration in the final weeks of the 2011-12 legislative session.

Some of the changes contained in the proposal, according to an analysis provided by Republicans:

• Concealed carry permit holders who get additional, enhanced training beyond basic requirements and spend more time at the gun range would be allowed to carry concealed in so-called “gun free” zones such as schools and churches. The pistol-free zones would remain in effect for others. “Open carry” in those zones would be prohibited.

• County concealed weapons licensing boards would be eliminated, and county sheriffs would assume their duties. County clerks and state police would continue to have roles in the process. Sheriffs would continue to consult with prosecutors and police on applicants.

• A license decision would have to be made within 45 days of application – one of the provisions aimed at streamlining the permit process.

Learn more from Tim Martin’s report at

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