Alabama residents will no longer be required to hold a permit to conceal and carry a handgun in the state after Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Thursday signed a bill effectuating the change into law.

The bill, which was passed along party lines with major Republican support and Democrat opposition, takes effect in January of next year, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Ivey said she was defending Second Amendment rights in her state.

“Unlike most 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,” the governor said in a statement. “I have always stood up for the rights of law abiding gunowners, and I am proud to do that again.”

Alabama becomes the 22nd state to not require a permit to conceal and carry a firearm, according to the Pew Research Organization. Last year, six states – Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and Utah – passed bills bypassing the permit process for some firearms.

Also this week, Georgia’s state House and Senate passed a similar bill not requiring a permit to conceal and carry a handgun, a measure expected to eventually be signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R).

In Alabama, the new law eliminates “the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit to lawfully carry a pistol,” according to a text of the passed bill.

Some police spoke out against the bill, including the Alabama Sheriffs Association.

Edward Delmore, a police chief in the community of Gulf Shore, said that “this bill doesn’t comply with common sense,” during a protest against the measure earlier this year, according to the Alabama News Network.

“No one up here is anti-Second Amendment,” he said. “Some have said that. It can’t be further from the truth.”

But the measure won support from the National Rifle Association, which said in a Thursday tweet that “Alabamians are safer for it.”

It also had the backing of some GOP former law enforcement officials in the state Congress, AL.com reported.