Alabama Gun Law: A Quick Guide
Overview of Alabama Gun Laws in 2021
Alabama state laws are gun-friendly, which is considered typical for a southern “red” state. The State Constitution declares a fundamental right to bear arms as an essential principle of Liberty [source]. Alabama is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the local sheriff will issue permits to residents as long as they fulfill requirements and are competent to carry a weapon. The State does not issue non-resident permits, although there is an exception for military families stationed in Alabama.
Restrictions in Alabama
Alabama does follow certain restrictions concerning who may or may not possess a gun. For example, the minimum age requirement for possessing/transporting/carrying a firearm is 18 years old. Along with meeting all Federal requirements, a person must be mentally competent and a legal US citizen. Additionally, anyone who has a history as a sexual offender or hospitalization due to drugs is not allowed to hold a permit.
Along with certain people, certain places are off limits to those carrying a firearm. Only law officers or authorized officials are exempt from the following restricted areas:
- police, sheriff, or highway patrol stations
- courthouses, criminal justice buildings, or any building where a county commission or city council is having a meeting
- prisons, jails, or other detention facilities
- mental health facilities
- public demonstrations
- school-sponsored or professional athletic events unrelated to guns (unless you have a concealed carry permit or express permission from someone in authority), or
- wildlife management areas (unless you have a valid permit specific to those areas ).
(Ala. Code §§ 9-11-304, 13A-11-59, 13A-11-61.2.)
Federal Background Checks
Federal Background Checks are required by federally licensed gun dealers, and all buyers are put through the NICS database on the national level. As of 2019, a valid concealed carry permit is no longer accepted as an alternative to the background check. Although, Alabama private gun sales do not require a permit, background check or firearms registration. The State does not enforce purchase permits or forced waiting periods when buying a gun.
Red Flag Laws
Red Flag Laws, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, became a hot button issue around 2018. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a Red Flag Law is
“ a law allowing courts to prevent people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or to others from having access to firearms (as by ordering the seizure of weapons)”.[source]
In Alabama, there are no laws or active bills in place. In fact, lawmakers began working on legislation that could make federal gun control laws ineffective, should these orders become Federal Law. The concern is that the laws can be easily abused, and allowing governmental control over gun confiscation is risky and can be taken too far.
Alabama Concealed Carry Law
The minimum age for concealed carry and handgun possession is 18.
A permit allows a person to carry at roadside rest stops, state parks, and bars/restaurants that serve alcohol.
Alabama does not issue non-resident licenses, but will make exceptions for military personnel and spouses.
According to Alabama law Section 13A-11-50, the state strictly prohibits carrying any kind of concealed weapon without a permit.
Process of Applying for a CWP
Applications for a License are sent to the local sheriff's office. The applicant must be at least 18 years old and include the fee (i.e. $20 per year, up to 5 years). The sheriffs office will review the application and, as long as there are no red flags, the license will typically be issued within 30 days.
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Self Defense Laws in Alabama
Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine
Alabama is a Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine state. Castle Doctrine comes from the old adage “A Man's House is His Castle” and a homeowner has the right to use deadly force to protect his property. Stand Your Ground laws give citizens the right to use deadly force in places they are legally allowed to be, without the need to run or hide first. In short, there is no Duty to Retreat in Alabama. A person may claim self-defense in a deadly shooting, and it is up to the courts to prove otherwise.
Open Carry Laws in Alabama
Open Or Constitutional Carry
Constitutional Carry simply means that residents of a state may carry a handgun openly or concealed without having to register or hold a permit. In 2019 there were 16 states that allow for permit-less carry, including Vermont, West Virginia and Arizona [source]. Alabama does not uphold Constitutional Carry, as it requires a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) for its residents.
Open Carry is allowed for those over 18, with certain location restrictions (such as schools and courthouses).
FAQ: Alabama Law
Can I Carry a Gun in My Car in Alabama?
Yes, as you have a valid concealed carry permit, you may have a loaded weapon accessible to you in the vehicle. If you don’t have a permit, the gun must be unloaded and locked away in a secure place in the vehicle.
Are There Any Firearm Restrictions in Alabama?
There are ammunition restrictions on bullets that are coated in Teflon or brass that are armor piercing. Although, this doesn’t apply to hollow point ammo.
According to Federal Law, which Alabama honors, short barreled shotguns and rifles are illegal.
I’m from another state, what CWP’s (Concealed Weapons Permit) will Alabama Honor in 2021?
Florida (handguns only)
New York (New York City permits not recognized)
West Virginia (check out our blog post on WV gun law!)
Alabama honors all out-of-state concealed carry permits pursuant to section 13A-11-85 of the Alabama Code.
*Please be aware that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Also, be sure to consult with an attorney if you have any legal questions.*