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Alabama Gun Laws

Thursday, August 6, 2020

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION -- Article 1, Section 26

(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.

Gun Laws Overview

RIFLES & SHOTGUNS HANDGUNS
Licensing of Owners No No
Permit to Carry No Yes
Permit to Purchase No No
Registration of Firearms No No

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

STATE STATUS
Castle Doctrine Enacted
No-Net Loss Enacted
Right to Carry Confidentiality Provisions Enacted
Right to Carry Laws Shall Issue
Right to Carry Reciprocity and Recognition Outright Recognition
Right to Carry in Restaurants Legal
Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions With Provisions

Alabama Attorney General:
http://www.ago.state.al.us/Page-Gun-Reprocity-Law

IMPORTANT RECIPROCITY NOTES:  Alaska, Colorado and Iowa permit holders must be 21 years of age to carry in this state.  A Class 1 North Dakota permit holder must be 21 years of age, a Class 2 permit holder, at least 18 years of age.  Florida recognizes an Alabama permit if the permit holder is 21 years old or older.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity
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Click on a State to see the Gun Law Profile

 

Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms

Purchase and Transfer

No state permit is required to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

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It is a felony for a person to knowingly solicit or persuade a licensed dealer or private seller of a firearm or ammunition to transfer a firearm or ammunition in violation of state or federal law. A private seller means a person who sells or offers for sale any firearm or ammunition. Ala. Code § 13A-11-58.1(b), (a) (definitions).

It is a felony to provide a licensed dealer or a private seller of firearms or ammunition with materially false information with the intent to deceive the dealer or seller about the legality of the transfer of a firearm or ammunition. Ala. Code § 13A-11-58.1(c), (a) (definitions). It is a crime to give false information or offer false evidence of identity when purchasing or otherwise securing delivery of a handgun. Ala. Code  § 13A-11-81.

A retail dealer is prohibited from selling, transferring, exposing for sale or transfer, or having in its possession with intent to sell, or otherwise transfer, any handgun without being licensed under Ala. Code § 13A-11-79. Ala. Code § 13A-11-78.

Ala. Code § 40-12-143 allows state and county license taxes to be imposed on “persons dealing in pistols, revolvers, maxim silencers, bowie knives, dirk knives, brass knucks or knucks of like kind.”

Ala. Code § 13A-11-76 prohibits delivering a handgun to anyone the person has reasonable cause to believe is: a drug addict or habitual drunkard, has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, a violent offense, anyone who is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse, anyone of unsound mind, or a minor. This does not apply in the case of anyone who has had their firearm rights restored by operation of law or legal process, or in the case of a minor, where the exceptions in Section 13A-11-72 apply.

“Convicted,” “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence,” “valid protection order,” and “unsound mind” are defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72. A “violent offense” is defined at Ala. Code § 12-25-32(15) as any of the 50 listed offenses or any substantially similar offense committed under any state or federal law.

A separate section makes it a crime to sell, give or lend a handgun to a minor, unless (1) the exceptions in Section 13A-11-72 apply, or (2) the transfer is by inheritance of title, but not possession of, a handgun. Ala. Code § 13A-11-57.

Gun shows. Ala. Code § 40-12-143, allows state and county license taxes to be imposed on organizers of gun and knife shows. The organizer of such show must provides a list of participants to the county and municipality in which the gun show is held, and is responsible for determining whether each participant is licensed under the state sales tax law as well as the county and municipality in which the show is conducted, and for collecting and remitting all state and local sales taxes for any participant not licensed under state or local sales tax laws. In the event the organizer does not provide the information required or pay the license taxes prescribed in this section, prior to the commencement of the event, each participant shall be responsible for his or her applicable licenses. The organizer and all participants must comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Any resident of Alabama authorized to sell and deliver rifles, shotguns and ammunition may sell and deliver them to a resident of any state where the sale of the firearm or ammunition is legal. Any purchaser of such firearm or ammunition may take or send it out of the state or have it delivered to his place of residence. Any resident of Alabama who legally purchases rifles, shotguns and ammunition in any state may take delivery of said weapons either in the state where they were purchased or in Alabama. Ala. Code § 13A-11-58.

The possession or sale of brass or steel teflon-coated handgun ammunition “or any ammunition of like kind designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests” anywhere within Alabama is a felony. This does not apply to state or local law enforcement officers, or to the possession or sale of teflon-coated lead or brass ammunition designed to expand upon contact. Ala. Code § 13A-11-60.

It is a felony to sell or receive a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun in violation of federal law. This does not apply to a peace officer who possesses, obtains, receives, sells, or uses a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun in the course of or in connection with their official duties. A “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches. A “short-barreled shotgun” means a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-63, 13A-11-62 (definitions).

"Buybacks." The state preemption law, Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(g)(6) specifically prohibits a political subdivision from operating or sponsoring so-called "gun buybacks" -- offering “remuneration for the surrender or transfer of a privately owned firearm to the political subdivision or another party as a method of reducing the number of privately owned firearms within the political subdivision.” A “political subdivision” means a county, incorporated city, unincorporated city, public local entity, public-private partnership, and any other public entity of a county or city commonly considered to be a political subdivision of the state of Alabama. Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(b)(6) (definitions).

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Possession

No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. 

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State law, Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a), prohibits the following persons from owning, possessing, or having under their control, a firearm:

Anyone convicted in Alabama or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, or violent offense. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). “Convicted,” and “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” are defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(k) and (l). A “violent offense” is defined at Ala. Code § 12-25-32(15) as any of the 50 listed crimes or any substantially similar offense committed under any state or federal law. A “crime of violence” means any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them, namely, murder, manslaughter, (except manslaughter arising out of the operation of a vehicle), rape, mayhem, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to ravish, assault with intent to murder, robbery, burglary, and kidnapping. It also means any Class A felony or any Class B felony that has as an element serious physical injury, the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, or is of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-70(2). 

Anyone subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse currently in force. “Valid protection order” is defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(m) and does not include ex parte orders (order issued without the person receiving advance notice of the proceedings).

Anyone of “unsound mind,” as defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(o) – generally, anyone who has been adjudicated by a board,  court or other lawful authority as being, due to a mental condition or illness, a danger to self or others or lacking the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs, or anyone who has been involuntarily committed for a final commitment for inpatient treatment at a mental facility, or found to be insane, not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, found mentally incompetent to stand trial, or found not guilty by a reason of lack of mental responsibility by a court in a criminal case.

State law prohibits a “drug addict or a habitual drunkard” from owning, possessing or having control of a handgun. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(b).  

Minors are under a handgun possession prohibition unless one of the exceptions in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(f) or (g) applies. The exceptions generally require permission from a parent or guardian, and apply to a minor engaging in or travelling in a vehicle to or from: a supervised hunter education or firearm safety course; supervised target shooting or an organized competition; lawfully hunting or fishing with any required license in his or her possession and written permission of the landowner and the handgun, when loaded, is carried openly; when on property owned or controlled by a parent or other listed family member; the minor is a member of the armed services or national guard and acting in the line of duty; or the minor is using the handgun in defense of self or others against an intruder at the minor’s home or any home where the minor is an invited guest. When travelling, the handgun must be unloaded, locked in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the motor vehicle and is out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the motor vehicle. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(f)(7).

For the purposes of the handgun prohibitions above, state law excludes “antique pistols” -- “the purchase, possession or sale of pistols as curiosities or ornaments or to the transportation of such pistols unloaded and in a bag, box or securely wrapped package, but not concealed on the person.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-83.

Possession and Prohibited Places. It is a felony to knowingly with intent to do bodily harm, possess or carry any firearm or other deadly weapon on the premises of a public school. “Public school” means a school composed of grades K-12 and shall include a school bus used for grades K-12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(c), (d), and (i) (definition of public school).

This does not apply to school security personnel and school resource officers qualified under Section 16-1-44.1(a), employed by a local board of education, and authorized by the employing local board of education to carry a deadly weapon while on duty. It does not apply to persons with valid Alabama permits to carry. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(e). It also does not apply to any of the persons listed at Ala. Code § 13A-11-74 – generally, law enforcement officers, members of the armed forces, the National Guard or reserves, or state guard organizations when on duty or going to or from duty; and federal officers or employees authorized to carry a handgun while on duty.

It is unlawful for any person (other than a law enforcement officer) to have in his possession, or on his person or in any vehicle, any firearm (loaded or unloaded) while attending or participating in any demonstration being held at a public place. This also applies to possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a demonstration, if the person has been warned by a police officer that a demonstration is underway and told to leave the area. A “demonstration” means demonstrating, picketing, speechmaking or marching, holding of vigils and all other like forms of conduct which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers. It does not include casual use of property by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers. A “public place” means any place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment or other lawful purpose, but does not necessarily mean a place devoted solely to the uses of the public. It includes the front or immediate area or parking lot of any store, shop, restaurant, tavern, shopping center or other place of business, and also includes any public building, its grounds and curtilage, any public parking lot, public street, right-of-way, sidewalk right-of-way, and public park or other public grounds. Ala. Code § 13A-11-59.

Possession of a firearm, including by anyone with a permit to carry issued or recognized by Alabama, is prohibited in the following places unless the person has the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises:

  • Inside the building of a police, sheriff, or highway patrol station.
  • Inside or on the premises of a prison, jail, halfway house, community corrections facility, or other detention facility for those who have been charged with or convicted of a criminal or juvenile offense.
  • Inside a facility which provides inpatient or custodial care of those with psychiatric, mental, or emotional disorders.
  • Inside a courthouse, courthouse annex, a building in which a district attorney’s office is located.
  • Inside a building in which a county commission or city council is currently having a regularly scheduled or specially-called meeting.
  • Inside any building or facility to which access of unauthorized persons and prohibited articles is limited during normal hours of operation by the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features like magnetometers, key cards, biometric screening devices, or turnstiles or other physical barriers. This does not prohibit the possession, transportation, or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee’s privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area provided the employee complies with the requirements of Section 13A-11-90, and the gun is kept from ordinary observation and locked within a compartment or in the interior of the vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(a), (d).

Possession of a firearm is prohibited in the following places unless (1) the person has the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises, or (2) the person has a valid permit to carry issued or recognized by Alabama:

  • Inside any facility hosting an athletic event not related to or involving firearms which is sponsored by a private or public elementary or secondary school, or any private or public institution of postsecondary education.
  • Inside any facility hosting a professional athletic event not related to or involving firearms.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(a)(5) and (6).

The prohibitions in Section 13A-11-61.2 do not apply to:

  • a person while in the person’s own residence, including coming in and going out.
  • law enforcement officers engaged in the lawful execution of their official duties, or a “qualified retired law enforcement officer.”
  • in the case of a police/ sheriff/highway patrol station, courthouse/courthouse annex, a building containing a district attorney’s office or where a county commission/city council is meeting, any facility hosting an athletic event, or a building with secured access where firearms are prohibited, if the gun is kept in the person’s private vehicle, stored out of sight and locked within a compartment or in the interior of the person’s motor vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(f), (g), and (d).

The person or entity with authority over the premises listed in Section 13A-11-61.2(a) or (b) where possession of firearms is prohibited must place a notice at the public entrances of such premises or buildings alerting those entering that firearms are prohibited. Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(c).

It is unlawful to possess or carry a firearm within any wildlife management area without possessing a valid permit specifically allowing the possession or carrying. This does not apply to any authorized law enforcement officer, any officer of the US Forest Service, the United States Bureau of Biological Survey, or of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources while in the pursuit of official duties. Ala. Code § 9-11-304.

The possession of firearms and other weapons “of any kind” is prohibited in the Alabama State House. Weapons or items not declared upon entry will be confiscated by State House security and not returned; see Alabama State House Visitor Policy.

Carrying a handgun in a vehicle is prohibited unless: (1) the person has a valid carry permit, or (2) the handgun is unloaded and locked in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the vehicle and out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle, or (3) the person is on land under his or her control or in his or her own abode or his or her own fixed place of business. Ala. Code § 13A-11-73.

A public or private employer may not restrict or ban the transportation or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee’s own vehicle, while parked on that employer’s parking lot, if:

  1. the employee has a valid concealed weapon permit; or during hunting season, the gun is one legally used for hunting, other than a handgun, the employee has a valid state hunting license, the gun is unloaded, the employee has no documented workplace incidents involving physical injury, is not subject to a domestic violence order, has no convictions for a crime of violence, and does not meet any of the mental health disqualifications for a concealed weapon permit, and
  2. the employee’s vehicle is being operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be, and the firearm is either in the vehicle with the employee and kept out of sight, or the gun is in an unattended vehicle, kept out of sight and locked within a compartment, container, or in the interior or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the vehicle.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-90(b). An employer may discipline an employee who does not comply with the above requirements. An employer may restrict or prohibit its employees, including those with a carry permit, from carrying firearms while on the employer’s property or while engaged in the duties of the person’s employment, provided the employer’s actions are consistent with the above requirements. Ala. Code § 13A-11-90(c)(1),(a). 

The possession or sale of brass or steel teflon-coated handgun ammunition “or any ammunition of like kind designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests” anywhere within Alabama is a felony. This does not apply to state or local law enforcement officers, or to the possession or sale of teflon-coated lead or brass ammunition designed to expand upon contact. Ala. Code § 13A-11-60.

It is a felony to possess, obtain, receive, sell, or use a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun in violation of federal law. This does not apply to a peace officer who possesses, obtains, receives, sells, or uses a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun in the course of or in connection with their official duties. A “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches. A “short-barreled shotgun” means a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-63, 13A-11-62 (definitions).

 

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Carrying

With some exceptions, the open carry of firearms is lawful. Under Alabama law, it is a rebuttable presumption that the mere carrying of a visible handgun, holstered or secured, in a public place, in and of itself, is not a violation of the disorderly conduct law. Ala. Code § 13A-11-7(c).

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With some exceptions, it is unlawful to carry a concealed handgun, other firearm, or airgun without a carry permit. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-50 (firearm, airgun), 13A-11-73 (handgun).

A person charged with a violation of the concealed weapons crime in Section 13A-11-50 may give evidence that, at the time of carrying the concealed weapon, he or she had good reason to apprehend an attack, and the jury may consider this evidence in mitigation of the punishment or in justification of the offense. Ala. Code § 13A-11-51.

Carrying a handgun in any vehicle or concealed on or about the person without a permit is unlawful. Exceptions include (1) a person legally permitted to possess a handgun who has an unloaded handgun locked in a compartment or container in or affixed securely to the motor vehicle, where the gun is out of reach of the driver and any passenger, and (2) a person who is on land under his or her control or in his or her own abode or his or her own fixed place of business, and (3) any person legally permitted to possess a handgun while carrying it unloaded in a secure wrapper, from the place of purchase to their home or place of business, or to or from a place of repair, or in moving from one place of abode or business to another. Law enforcement officers who arrest a person for violating this law must seize the handgun(s) involved; upon convictions, the gun is liable to be declared contraband, forfeited to the state and destroyed. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-73, 13A-11-74 (secure wrapper exception), 13A-11-84 (penalties).

Other exemptions from this prohibition on carrying are: law enforcement and correctional officers; qualified retired law enforcement officers (as defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-62.1); members of the armed forces or national guard, reserves or state guard organizations when on duty or going to or from duty; federal officers or employees authorized to carry a handgun; and any person engaged in manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in handguns, or the agent or representative of such person possessing, using, or carrying a handgun in the usual or ordinary course of such business. Ala. Code § 13A-11-74.

It is unlawful to carry a rifle or shotgun walking cane. Ala. Code § 13A-11-54.

Concealed carry permits. A permit is generally required to carry a handgun in a vehicle or concealed on the person. Ala. Code §13A-11-75(g) (see exceptions above).

The law on carry permits is Ala. Code § 13A-11-75. Alabama is a “shall issue” state – a license must be issued to any applicant who qualifies under the relevant legal requirements. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)a).

Applications are made to the sheriff of the county where the applicant lives. The applicant selects the permit duration: anywhere from one to five years. The fee for a permit varies depending on the county. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)a), (b).

Persons who are prohibited from the possession of a handgun or firearm pursuant to state or federal law are not eligible for a permit, as are persons under the age of 18 (minors are subject to a handgun possession prohibition; Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(b)). Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)a).

The sheriff may also deny a permit where the sheriff has a reasonable suspicion that the applicant may use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner that would endanger the applicant or others, based on the applicant being: 

  • anyone who, in a criminal proceeding, was found incompetent to stand trial, found guilty but mentally ill, found not guilty by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect, asserted a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect, or was found not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • anyone who has ever required involuntary inpatient treatment at a psychiatric hospital or a similar treatment facility, required involuntary outpatient treatment in a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility based on a finding that the person is an imminent danger to self or others, or required involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility for any reason, including drug use.
  • anyone subject to a prosecution or an incompetency proceeding that could lead to a loss of firearm rights under state or federal law.
  • anyone who has otherwise caused “justifiable concern for public safety.”
  • anyone who has falsified any portion of the application.

The sheriff must take into account how recent any of these events are relative to the date of the application. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)a), b).

A person who is unlawfully present in the state is ineligible for a permit. In the case of an applicant who is not a US citizen but lawfully resident in the state, the applicant must provide the applicant’s country of citizenship, place of birth, and any alien or admission number issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The sheriff must conduct an Immigration Alien Query through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and review the results before making a determination of whether to issue a permit or renewal permit. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(e).

The fee for a permit/permit renewal is waived for retired military veterans (retirees from active duty in the Army, or the Navy, or the Marine Corps, or the Air Force, or the Coast Guard of the United States or any reserve or National Guard component). To be eligible, the veteran  must present a United States government-issued Veteran Identification Card or a DD-214 Proof of Military Service form and sufficient proof that the person is a military retiree.  Ala. Code § 13A-11-75.1.

A sheriff is prohibited from adding conditions or requirements on the issuance of a permit that are not otherwise listed, or limiting a permit’s scope or applicability. A sheriff may not place a time constraint or other requirement upon taking possession of a permit by the applicant after he or she has been notified that a permit has been approved. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)d), (c).

If the permit application is denied, the sheriff must provide the reason(s) in writing and disclose the evidence upon which it is based (unless disclosure would interfere with a criminal investigation). An applicant receiving a denial may file an appeal within 30 days of notification of the denial in the district court of the county where the denial occurred. A sheriff shall have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is prohibited from having a permit. The court must rule on the matter within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. A successful appeal requires that the applicant be issued a permit no later than the close of business on the fifth business day following the district court’s transmittal of its order to the sheriff. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)b), (a)(3), (a)(4) and (a)(5).

The sheriff may revoke a permit for any reason that could lead to the denial of a permit. The sheriff must provide, in writing, the reason(s) for the revocation, and the permit holder has the same right of appeal as a denied applicant. The appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the date of notification of the revocation in the district court of the county where the revocation was issued. The sheriff has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the person is prohibited from having a permit. The court must rule on the matter within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. If the appeal is successful, the permit must be reinstated by the close of business on the fifth business day following the district court’s transmittal of its order to the sheriff. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(2)a, (a)(3), (a)(4) and (a)(5).  

If a person issued a permit in Alabama establishes residence in another state, the permit expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(i).

It is a crime to provide false information or offer false evidence of the applicant’s identity on a permit application.  Ala. Code § 13A-11-81.

Confidentiality. The name, address, signature, photograph, and any other personally identifying information collected from an applicant or permittee must be kept confidential, is exempt from disclosure under state public records laws, and may only be used for law enforcement purposes except when a current permittee is charged in any state with a felony involving the use of a handgun. However, all of the other information regarding permits – like the annual number of applicants, number of permits issued, number of permits denied or revoked, revenue from issuance of permits, and any other fiscal or statistical data – is public information and may be disclosed. The sheriff of a county must redact the name, address, signature, photograph, and any other personally identifying information of a permit holder before releasing a copy of a permit for a non-law enforcement purpose.. To knowingly publish or release to the public in any form any information or records related to the licensing process, or the current validity of any permit, except as authorized by law or in response to a court order or subpoena, is a Class A misdemeanor. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(f).

Prohibited places for carrying, even with a permit. Anyone with a permit to carry issued or recognized by Alabama is not authorized to carry a concealed handgun in the following places unless the person has the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises:

  • Inside the building of a police, sheriff, or highway patrol station.
  • Inside or on the premises of a prison, jail, halfway house, community corrections facility, or other detention facility for those who have been charged with or convicted of a criminal or juvenile offense.
  • Inside a facility which provides inpatient or custodial care of those with psychiatric, mental, or emotional disorders.
  • Inside a courthouse, courthouse annex, a building in which a district attorney’s office is located.
  • Inside a building in which a county commission or city council is currently having a regularly scheduled or specially-called meeting.
  • Inside any building or facility to which access of unauthorized persons and prohibited articles is limited during normal hours of operation by the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features like magnetometers, key cards, biometric screening devices, or turnstiles or other physical barriers. This does not prohibit the possession, transportation, or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee’s privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area provided the employee complies with the requirements of Section 13A-11-90, and the gun is kept from ordinary observation and locked within a compartment or in the interior of the vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(a), (d).

A person who has a valid permit to carry issued or recognized by Alabama is allowed to carry:

  • Inside any facility hosting an athletic event not related to or involving firearms which is sponsored by a private or public elementary or secondary school, or any private or public institution of postsecondary education.
  • Inside any facility hosting a professional athletic event not related to or involving firearms.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(a)(5) and (6).

The prohibitions in Section 13A-11-61.2 do not apply to:

  • a person while in the person’s own residence, including coming in and going out.
  • law enforcement officers engaged in the lawful execution of their official duties, or a “qualified retired law enforcement officer.”
  • in the case of a police/ sheriff/highway patrol station, courthouse/courthouse annex, a building containing a district attorney’s office or where a county commission/city council is meeting, any facility hosting an athletic event, or a building with secured access where firearms are prohibited, if the gun is kept in the person’s private vehicle, stored out of sight and locked within a compartment or in the interior of the person’s motor vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(f), (g), and (d).

The person or entity with authority over the premises listed in Section 13A-11-61.2(a) or (b) where possession of firearms is prohibited must place a notice at the public entrances of such premises or buildings alerting those entering that firearms are prohibited. Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2(c).

Specified school security personnel and school resource officers employed by a local board of education, and authorized by the employing local board of education to carry a deadly weapon while on duty; law enforcement officers; and persons with valid Alabama carry permits are exempt from a prohibition on carrying and possessing deadly weapons on the premises of a public school (“no person shall knowingly with intent to do bodily harm carry or possess a deadly weapon on the premises of a public school”). A “public school” means a school composed of grades K-12 and includes a school bus used for grades K-12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(c), (d), and (i) (definition of public school).

It is unlawful for any person (other than a law enforcement officer) to have in his possession, or on his person or in any vehicle, any firearm (loaded or unloaded) while attending or participating in any demonstration being held at a public place. This also applies to possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a demonstration, if the person has been warned by a police officer that a demonstration is underway and told to leave the area. A “demonstration” means demonstrating, picketing, speechmaking or marching, holding of vigils and all other like forms of conduct which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers. It does not include casual use of property by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers. A “public place” means any place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment or other lawful purpose, but does not necessarily mean a place devoted solely to the uses of the public. It includes the front or immediate area or parking lot of any store, shop, restaurant, tavern, shopping center or other place of business, and also includes any public building, its grounds and curtilage, any public parking lot, public street, right-of-way, sidewalk right-of-way, and public park or other public grounds. Ala. Code § 13A-11-59.

It is unlawful to possess or carry a firearm within any wildlife management area without possessing a valid permit specifically allowing the possession or carrying. This does not apply to any authorized law enforcement officer, any officer of the US Forest Service, the United States Bureau of Biological Survey, or of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources while in the pursuit of official duties. Ala. Code § 9-11-304.

The possession of firearms and other weapons “of any kind” is prohibited in the Alabama State House. Weapons or items not declared upon entry "will be confiscated by State House security and not returned;" see Alabama State House Visitor Policy.

Reciprocity. A person other than a resident of Alabama, who is licensed to carry a handgun in any state is authorized to carry a handgun in Alabama, but must carry the handgun in compliance with the Alabama law.

The Attorney General is authorized to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states for the mutual recognition of licenses to carry handguns and shall periodically publish a list of which recognize Alabama permits. Ala. Code § 13A-11-85.

For other information on possession of firearms, including restrictions on firearm by employers, see the section on Possession.

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Antiques and Replicas

“Antique handguns,” being handguns possessed or sold “as curiosities or ornaments” are exempt from the provisions on purchase, possession, or sale. Such handguns may be transported unloaded and in a bag, box, or securely wrapped package, but not concealed on the person. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-83, 13A-11-50 (prohibition on concealed carry).

Machine Guns, “Assault Weapons,” Magazines, etc.

Alabama has no state law defining or regulating “assault weapons” or “large capacity magazines.” It does not specifically regulate machine guns as a class of firearm.

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It is a felony to possess, obtain, receive, sell, or use a “short-barreled rifle” or a “short-barreled shotgun” in violation of federal law. This does not apply to a peace officer who possesses, obtains, receives, sells, or uses a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun in the course of or in connection with their official duties. A “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches. A “short-barreled shotgun” means a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-63, 13A-11-62 (definitions, see also definitions of “rifle” and “shotgun” in that section).

The use of a “short-barreled rifle” or a “short-barreled shotgun” in the course of, or in connection with the commission of any other felony is punishable as a separate felony, in addition to the penalty imposed for the other felony crime. Ala. Code § 13A-11-65.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-60 makes it a crime to possess or sell “brass or steel teflon-coated handgun ammunition” and possession or sale of “any ammunition of like kind designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests” is also unlawful. This law does not apply to state and local law enforcement officers, and it exempts “possession or sale of teflon-coated lead or brass ammunition designed to expand upon contact.”

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Preemption

Under Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(c), the “entire field of regulation in this state touching in any way upon firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories” is reserved to the state legislature, “to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or rule promulgated or enforced by any political subdivision.”

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The policy and purpose of this section “is to establish within the Legislature complete control over regulation and policy pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation and policy is applied uniformly throughout [the state],” and to “ensure protection of the right to keep and bear arms recognized by the Constitutions of the State of Alabama and the United States. This section is to be liberally construed to accomplish its purpose.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(a).

The exceptions to preemption are listed at Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(c) and (g). These include:   

  • a law enforcement agency of a political subdivision imposing its own rules on the firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories that it issues to or that are used by its peace officers in the course of their official duties.
  • an employer regulating or prohibiting an employee’s carrying or possession of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition during and in the course of the employee’s official duties.
  • a prosecutor, court or administrative law judge from hearing and resolving a case or controversy or issuing an opinion or order on a matter within its jurisdiction.
  • the enactment or enforcement of a generally applicable zoning or business ordinance that includes firearms businesses along with other businesses. However, any ordinance designed or enforced effectively to restrict or prohibit the sale, purchase, transfer, manufacture, or display of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories that are otherwise lawful is void.
  • a political subdivision may adopt rules of operation and use for any firearm range owned or operated by that political subdivision.
  • a political subdivision may sponsor or conduct any firearm-related competition or educational or cultural program and the rules for participation in or attendance at such program. However, it is prohibited from offering “remuneration for the surrender or transfer of a privately owned firearm to the political subdivision or another party as a method of reducing the number of privately owned firearms within the political subdivision.”
  • an official of a political subdivision, a sheriff, or other law enforcement officer with appropriate authority and jurisdiction  is allowed to enforce any law enacted by the state legislature, and a sheriff is authorized to process an application for a carry permit or renewal.
  • a political subdivision may lease public property to another person or entity for a gun show or other firearm-related event on terms agreeable to both parties.
  • a county or municipality may pass and enforce ordinances that make the violation of a state firearm law a violation of an ordinance, provided that the elements of the local ordinance do not differ from the state firearm law, and the ordinance cannot impose a higher penalty than what is imposed under the state firearm law.
  • a municipality may regulate the discharge of firearms within the limits of the municipality, and a county may exercise any authority it has under law to regulate the discharge of firearms within the county. Any such ordinance cannot prohibit the discharge of a firearm in defense of one’s self or family or in defense of one’s property.
  • a county or a municipality may exercise its authority to assess, enforce, and collect generally applicable sales taxes, use taxes, and gross receipts taxes in the nature of sales taxes on the retail sale of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories along with other goods, provided that no such tax imposed by a county or municipality may apply at a higher rate to firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories than the general sales tax rate of the jurisdiction.
  • matters authorized in Act 2013-283. This allows cities and towns to impose license taxes on “persons dealing in pistols, revolvers, maxim silencers, bowie knives, dirk knives, brass knucks or knucks” and on organizers of gun and knife shows, based on Ala. Code § 40-12-143.
  • any other matter that is “expressly authorized by a statute,” where that is defined to mean a “duly enacted state law that specifically mentions firearms, a particular type of firearm, ammunition, or a particular type of ammunition.”

Otherwise, the authority of a political subdivision to regulate firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories cannot be inferred from its proprietary authority, home rule status, or any other inherent or general power, and any existing orders, ordinances, or rules promulgated or enforced contrary to the preemption law are null and void. A “political subdivision” means a county, incorporated city, unincorporated city, public local entity, public-private partnership, and any other public entity of a county or city commonly considered to be a political subdivision of the state of Alabama. Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(d), (b)(6) (definitions).

The state preemption law, Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(g)(6) specifically prohibits a political subdivision from sponsoring or organizing a so-called gun “buyback,” by offering “remuneration for the surrender or transfer of a privately owned firearm to the political subdivision or another party as a method of reducing the number of privately owned firearms within the political subdivision.”

Remedies. Any person adversely affected by any order, ordinance, or rule promulgated in violation of the preemption law has the right to file a petition with the state Attorney General requesting that he or she bring an action in circuit court for declarative and injunctive relief. The petition must be signed under oath and under penalty of perjury and must include specific details regarding the alleged violations. If the Attorney General finds there is reasonable cause to proceed with an action, he or she shall provide the political subdivision or public official enacting or adopting the order, ordinance, or rule with 60 days’ notice of the intent to file an action. Upon the expiration of the 60 days, the Attorney General may file the suit. Alternatively, the Attorney General may determine that there is no reasonable cause to proceed with an action, and must publicly state in writing the justification for the determination not to file suit. In any action, the court may award reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses to a person adversely affected, if the action results in a final determination in favor of the person adversely affected. “Reasonable expenses” mean the expenses involved in litigation, including, but not limited to, expert witness fees, court costs, and compensation for loss of income. Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.3(f), (b)(8) (definitions).

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Restoration of Rights

Alabama has a restoration of rights procedure for persons under a mental health-based firearm disability. Gun rights lost due to a criminal conviction may be restored through a pardon.

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Firearm disability arising from mental health adjudication, commitment. Alabama law prohibits persons with certain mental health-based adjudications (defined as persons of “unsound mind,” Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(o)) from owning, possessing or controlling firearms. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a).

Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8 allows any person who has been determined by law or legal process to be of unsound mind, mentally deficient or committed to a mental institution and who is subject to the firearm disabilities under federal [18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and (g)(4)] and state law [Ala. Code §§13A-11-72 and 13A-11-75] as a result, to petition the district court for a civil review of the person’s mental capacity to purchase a firearm.

The petitioner may present evidence and witnesses at the hearing on the petition. The district court is required to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law and issue a final order.

The evidence must relate to the petitioner’s reputation, the petitioner’s mental health record (and, if applicable, certified criminal history record from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency), the circumstances surrounding the petitioner’s firearm disability, and any other evidence that may be relevant.

The court must grant the relief requested in the petition if the judge finds, based on a preponderance of the evidence presented, that the petitioner will not be likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety and that granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.

If the court grants the relief requested, a copy of the court order must be forwarded to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency directing that its records be updated to remove the adjudication or order that caused the firearm disability, and that the agency also update the records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or ask that they be updated.

If the court denies the petition, the person may appeal the order denying relief within 42 days of the order to the circuit court for the county in which the commitment or adjudication was entered. The circuit court’s review shall be conducted de novo.

Firearm disability arising from criminal conviction. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a) prohibits any person who has been convicted in Alabama or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a “crime of violence,” “violent offense” listed in Section 12-25-32(15), or “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” from owning a firearm or having one in the person’s possession or under his or her control.

“Convicted,” and “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” are defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(k) and (l). A “crime of violence” means any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them, namely, murder, manslaughter, (except manslaughter arising out of the operation of a vehicle), rape, mayhem, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to ravish, assault with intent to murder, robbery, burglary, and kidnapping. It also means any Class A felony or any Class B felony that has as an element serious physical injury, the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, or is of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-70(2). A “violent offense” is defined at Ala. Code § 12-25-32(15) as any of the 50 listed crimes or any substantially similar offense committed under any state or federal law.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole is given the authority to grant pardons; see Ala. Code §§ 15-22-20 through 15-22-40. A full and unconditional pardon that restores to an individual all civil rights and political rights lost due to the conviction will restore firearm rights. Otherwise, a pardon with restrictions must specifically restore firearm rights (“No pardon shall relieve one from civil and political disabilities unless specifically expressed in the pardon;” Ala. Code § 15-22-36(c)).

A person whose record of conviction is expunged is not restored their firearm rights. Ala. Code § 15-27-15 states “an expungement order shall not entitle an individual to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm.”

For more information about pardon eligibility, applications and related issues, see the Alabama page at the Restoration of Rights Project website at https://ccresourcecenter.org/restoration/.

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Range Protection

State law protects “sport shooting ranges” from certain kinds of civil and criminal liability arising from the operation or use of the range.

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A “sport shooting range” means an area designed and used for rifle shooting, pistol shooting, trapshooting, skeetshooting, or other target shooting and related training or practice for the purpose of sharpshooting or improving in the use of firearms. Ala. Code § 6-5-341(a)(3).

Ala. Code § 6-5-341(b)(2) and (3) protect any person, firm, or entity that operates or uses a sport shooting range from civil liability, criminal prosecution, nuisance actions or injunctions in any matter relating to noise, noise pollution, or lead or lead pollution resulting from the operation or use of the range if (1) the range is being operated between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and the range has been in existence prior to 1990, or (2) the range is in compliance with any noise or lead control laws or ordinances that applied to the range and its operation on August 1, 2001, or at the time the sport shooting range came into existence, whichever event occurs first.

The section expressly applies to “all private or public civil, injunctive, and nuisance actions.” Ala. Code § 6-5-341(b)(1).

Rules and regulations adopted by a “governmental body” to limit levels of noise or lead which may occur in the atmosphere cannot apply to a sport shooting range exempted from liability as described above. “Governmental body” means the State of Alabama, or any county or municipal governing body, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department, district, or any other public body corporate and politic created by constitution, statute, ordinance, rule, or order. Ala. Code § 6-5-341(d), (e), and (a)(1) (definitions).

The same law prohibits the opening of any new public street or alley through a tract of property used or occupied as a sport shooting range, unless the necessity of the street or alley is “first established by verdict of a jury upon a showing of extreme need and impossibility of redirecting or rerouting the street or alley to accommodate the sport shooting range.” Ala. Code § 6-5-341(c).

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Miscellaneous

Ala. Code § 11-80-11 reserves to the state’s Attorney General (by and with the consent of the Governor) the authority to bring or settle any lawsuit in which the state has an exclusive interest or right to recover against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer, and the authority to bring or settle any lawsuit on behalf of any governmental unit created by or pursuant to an act of the state legislature or the state constitution for damages, abatement, injunctive relief, or other equitable relief relating to the design, manufacture, marketing, or lawful sale of firearms or ammunition. This does not prohibit a county or municipal corporation from bringing an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision or local governmental authority.

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Under Ala. Code § 31-9-8(a), a state of emergency, whether proclaimed by the governor or by the state legislature, terminates 60 days after the date on which it was proclaimed unless the governor extends the emergency by proclamation or the legislature extends the emergency by a joint resolution. While the governor is generally authorized “to perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population,” Ala. Code § 31-9-8(d) specifically excludes the power to authorize “the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from any individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition.” This does not affect the ability of a law enforcement officer, acting in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties, to disarm a person where “the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary” for the safety of the officer or another person. In such cases the officer must return the firearm to the person unless the person is arrested for engaging in criminal activity, or the gun is seized as evidence in a criminal investigation, or the officer determines that the person poses a threat to self or others.

It is unlawful to change or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or other mark or identification of any firearm. It is unlawful to possess, sell or use such a firearm. Ala. Code § 13A-11-64.

It is unlawful to make any loan secured by a mortgage, deposit, or pledge of a handgun. Ala. Code § 13A-11-80.

It is a misdemeanor for anyone other than the landowner or a member of the landowner’s immediate family to hunt with a centerfire rifle, a shotgun using a slug or shot larger in diameter than manufacturer’s standard designated number four shot, or a .40 caliber or larger muzzle-loading rifle, within 50 yards of a public road, public highway, railroad, or their rights-of-way. Ala. Code § 9-11-257. 

It is unlawful for any person except a duly authorized law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty or a person otherwise authorized by law, to discharge any firearm from, upon, or across any public road, public highway, or railroad, or the rights-of-way of any public road, public highway, or railroad. Ala. Code § 9-11-257.

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SOURCES: Code of Alabama §§11-80-11, 6-5-341, 9-11-304, 9-11-257, and 13A-11-50 through 13A-11-85.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.