Gun laws in Alabama
|Subject/Law||Long Guns||Handguns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|Permit to purchase required?||No||No|
|Owner license required?||No||No|
|Carry permits issued?||No||Yes||Alabama is a "may issue" state for concealed carry. Permits are generally issued to qualified applicants.|
|Open carry permitted?||No||Yes*||Open carry is generally permitted. However, open carry in a vehicle without a concealed carry license is prohibited. Open carry of a pistol is illegal in Alabama. AL code 13A-11-52 states that, "Except as otherwise provided in this article, no person shall carry a pistol about his person on premises not his own or under his control; but this section shall not apply to any sheriff or his deputy or police officer of an incorporated town or city in the lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or to United States marshal or his deputies, rural free delivery mail carriers in the discharge of their duties as such, bonded constables in the discharge of their duties as such, conductors, railway mail clerks and express messengers in the discharge of their duties." However, this article is currently being debated in the Alabama legislature.[when?]|
|State preemption of local restrictions?||Yes||Yes||"The entire matter of handguns is reserved to the state legislature."|
|"Assault weapon" law?||No||No|
|NFA weapons restricted?||No||No|
The Constitution of Alabama provides that every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the State. The State preempts local regulation of handguns. The handgun preemption statute reads "[t]he entire subject matter of handguns is reserved to the State Legislature." With regards to firearms other than handguns, localities may regulate the discharge of firearms and levy taxes. On April 21, 2010, Gov. Bob Riley signed House Bill 2 into law as Act 2010-496 amending Ala. §13A-11-63, to allow civilian ownership of short-barrel rifles and short-barrel shotguns, as allowed by federal law. The only firearms known to be prohibited are those disguised as walking canes.
Licensed dealers are required to process background checks through the FBI prior to completing a sale. Licensed dealers must keep a record of every handgun sold, including the purchaser's signature and particular information about the firearm being sold. Private sales of handguns and long guns are legal and no background check is required; however, it is unlawful to sell a firearm to a prohibited person.
Firearms are prohibited from certain places, including demonstrations. Firearms are prohibited on the premises of public schools only by persons with intent to do bodily harm. State administrative agencies have regulations restricting or prohibiting firearms in state parks, state forests, recreation areas, offices of the Department of Human Resources, domestic violence shelters, youth detention facilities, wildlife management areas, refuges, and sanctuaries, and licensed family and group day care and other child care facilities. Open carry on foot is generally allowed without a license, withstanding other applicable laws. Carrying a handgun in a vehicle, whether open or concealed, requires a license. Carrying a handgun on premises that are not owned or under the control of the possessor is prohibited unless the person has a valid concealed handgun license.
Alabama may issue a license, either qualified or unlimited, to applicants who are residents of the county in which they apply, who do not have any disqualifying criminal convictions, who are suitable persons, and who have good reason to fear injury to their person or property or have any other proper reason for carrying a handgun. In practice, virtually all Alabama county sheriffs, as of 2010, issue licenses to all "suitable persons." The law requires applicants to be residents, so they do not issue licenses to non-residents. The license is valid to carry a handgun in a vehicle or concealed on or about one's person within the State. Licenses are valid for up to one year** at a time. Alabama honors licenses issued by any state that also honors Alabama's licenses, provided that the license holder is not a resident of Alabama. **Currently the AL legislature is working on a bill that will extend the concealed carry permits to five years.