Gun laws in Alabama

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Gun laws in Alabama regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Alabama in the United States.[1][2][3]

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No
Firearm registration? No No
Owner license required? No No
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A Yes Alabama is a shall-issue state for concealed carry. However, the issuing county sheriff can suspend or even revoke concealed carry privileges for wanton disregard of the law.[4]
Permit required for open carry? No No Open carry is generally permitted, but handgun must be securely contained in a holster (belt, inside-the-waist, ankle, or shoulder). However, open carry in a vehicle without a concealed carry license is prohibited. As of August 1, 2013, the law states that: "It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the mere carrying of a visible pistol, holstered or secured, in public place, in and of itself, is not disorderly conduct."
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes "...the Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of regulation in this state touching in any way upon firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories.."
Assault weapon law? No No
NFA weapons restricted? No No Any Other Weapons (AOWs) disguised as walking canes are the only illegal firearms in Alabama.
Background checks required for private sales? No No
Location of Alabama in the United States

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 firearms. The firearm preemption statute reads "The 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 this state to each person subject to the state's jurisdiction 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." Localities may regulate the discharge of firearms and levy taxes.[1][2] 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.[5] 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.[1][2]

Firearms are prohibited from certain places, including demonstrations. Possession of firearms is prohibited on the premises of public schools by persons with intent to do bodily harm and those who do not have an Alabama Pistol Permit. Open carry on foot is generally allowed without a license, withstanding other applicable laws. As of Aug. 1, 2013, transportation of an unloaded handgun in a vehicle is allowed without an Alabama Pistol Permit if you are legally permitted to possess the handgun, and the handgun is locked away from immediate reach of all passengers. 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.[1][2]

Concealed carry[edit]

Alabama shall issue a license, 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. All Alabama county sheriffs, as of 2013, issue licenses to all "suitable persons."[6] 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 five years at a time.[1][2] Alabama honors licenses issued by any state that also honors Alabama's licenses, provided that the license holder is not a resident of Alabama.[7]

The following individuals are excluded from being issued a concealed carry permit:

  • Any person who has been convicted of a felony (a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year).
  • Any person who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, including murder, manslaughter (except manslaughter arising from the operation of a vehicle), rape, mayhem, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to ravish, assault with intent to murder, robbery, distribution of a controlled substance, burglary and kidnapping.
  • Any person who is an unlawful drug user, a drug addict or a habitual drunkard. Factors to consider include repeated and recent arrests or convictions for drug crimes, DUI, and/or public intoxication.
  • Any person who is under indictment for a crime punishable for imprisonment exceeding one year.
  • Any person who has been convicted of domestic violence, even if the conviction is a misdemeanor.
  • Any person discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • Any person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution, or any person who has asserted a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect in a criminal proceeding.
  • Any person who is or has been a subject of an incompetency proceeding, the result of which may prohibit the possession of a firearm.
  • Any person who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his/her citizenship.
  • Any person who is a fugitive from justice.
  • Any person who is an alien illegally in the United States or under a non-immigrant visa.
  • Any person who is subject to a court order that restrains that person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of an intimate partner.
  • Any person who causes justifiable concern for public safety, according to Ala. Act. No. 2013-283.

Ex-felons that have received a state pardon from the Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles restoring their firearm rights and have had their NCIC record updated by the FBI CJIS may apply for a permit after having a thorough background check and a face-to-face meeting with the county sheriff or their designated representative.