This week, identical NRA-backed pro-gun legislation was introduced in the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives. Senate Bill 262 was introduced by state Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and House Bill 328 was introduced by state Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle). These identical measures would repeal Alabama’s duplicative and intrusive handgun registration process and would amend Alabama’s unduly restrictive minor possession of handguns law.
Under current law, a licensed firearm dealer is required to maintain a record of all pistol purchases. This record, which is to be filled out in triplicate, requires the seller to document the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number, as well as the purchaser’s name, address, occupation, color, and place of birth. A copy of the registration form is retained by the firearm dealer, and the other two copies must be sent to the Secretary of State and chief law-enforcement officer in the dealer’s municipality or county, respectively. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that require pistol registration.
Your NRA-ILA believes that Alabama’s pistol registration scheme represents an unnecessarily duplicative and burdensome intrusion on law-abiding gun owners. There is no indication that the registration scheme serves any additional purpose apart from the record-keeping already required under federal law. Furthermore, there is no indication that record-keeping reduces crime or furthers a public safety objective. In fact, it seems that the only practical effect of Alabama’s pistol registration process is the additional burden it places on firearm dealers and purchasers.
These bills also seek to remedy Alabama’s overly restrictive prohibition on the possession of pistols by individuals under the age of 18. Alabama is one of the only states that enforces an absolute prohibition on the transfer of pistols to minors. As a result, a person can be held criminally liable for taking their son or daughter to the shooting range to teach them firearm safety. Boy Scouts cannot legally qualify for pistol shooting merit badges. No exception exists for competition shooting or shooting sports.
SB 243 and HB 328 seek to remedy Alabama’s overzealous restriction of the possession of pistols by providing that an individual under the age of 18 may lawfully possess a pistol if they have permission from their parent or legal guardian and:
- The minor is in the presence of an individual who is over the age of 18;
- The minor is on private property and has permission from the lawful owner or possessor of the premises;
- The minor is in the presence of a licensed or accredited gun safety instructor; or
- The pistol is being used for hunting, trapping, target shooting, competing in a firearm competition, or firearm or hunting training or instruction.
SB 262 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. HB 328 has been referred to House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. Please use the contact information provided below to contact the respective committee members and politely urge them to support SB 262 and HB 328.
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs:
Senator Jimmy Holley (R-31)
Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-25)
Senator Paul Bussman (R-4)
Senator Linda Coleman (D-20)
Senator Priscilla Dunn (D-19)
Senator Arthur Orr (R-3)
Senator Lee Trip Pittman (R-32)
Senator Paul Sanford (R-7)
Senator Clay Scofield (R-9)
Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-17)
Senator Phillip Williams (R-10)
House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security:
Representative Randy Wood (R-36)
Representative Allen Farley (R-15)
Representative Thomas Jackson (D-68)
Representative Dickie Drake (R-45)
Representative Chris England (D-70)
Representative Tommy Hanes (R-23)
Representative Mary Moore (D-59)
Representative Connie Rowe (R-13)
Representative Harry Shiver (R-64)
Representative Allen Treadaway (R-51)
Representative Isaac Whorton (R-38)