Senate Bill 24 may change the core of Alabama concealed carry laws if passed, positioning the state to potentially become the next with constitutional carry laws.
Sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen, SB24 has ignited statewide debate, namely between the NRA in support of the measure and the Alabama Sheriff’s Association opposing it, according to media reports.
As of April 6, it was still under consideration by the Senate, which means Alabama Code Section 13A-11-73 (requiring residents to have an Alabama pistol permit and nonresidents to have a permit under a recognized state — with some exceptions) is still in effect.
How to Get an Alabama Concealed Carry Permit
An Alabama resident may apply for an Alabama Concealed Carry permit, also referred to as a pistol permit or license, with their respective county sheriff. However, Senator Shay Shelnutt sponsored Senate Bill 330, introduced to the Senate on March 16, which if enacted would allow residents to apply for permits from their neighboring counties in order to benefit from less costly fees.
The Alabama permit, which is valid for between one to five years depending on which the applicant requests, is issued under different fees in different counties.
For example, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s office, a one-year permit fee is $20 and the five year permit is $100, but in Jefferson County the one-year permit fee is $7.50 and the five-year permit is $37.50.
As it stands, Alabama is currently a shall-issue state as of August 1, 2013 when Senate Bill 286 went into effect. This means after the applicant submits their application they will be issued a license to carry a concealed firearm, which in Alabama’s case will be within 30 days of receipt of a complete application and its respective fee.
As per Alabama Code Section 13A-11-75, there are about 11 considerations under which a sheriff may decline the application submitted by a resident of their county. These pertain to drug use, mental illness convictions in criminal cases, involuntary treatment or commitment in psychiatric hospitals, insanity pleas in cases, cause for justifiable concern for public safety, falsified application information and other specific terms.
After the applicant (who is at least 18 years old) submits the application, pays the fee and is ran through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, they may be declined, but under the previously cited code they may appeal within 30 days. The sheriff then carries the burden of providing clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is prohibited to possess a firearm.
Some are still concerned that 18-20 year olds may not be given a permit. However, sheriffs are required to process all applications within 30 days and an age requirement is not explicitly enumerated in the 11 prohibiting qualifiers.
With that said, Alabama Code Section 13A-11-72 outlines all persons prohibited from carrying a firearm, and section (b) states,
Note that Alabamian minors are those under 19 years old. Regardless, the age requirement in the state is at least 18 years old, but county sheriffs, like Mobile County, will often post requirements, if that’s a concern.
Felony charges, domestic violence charges and other similar convictions for criminal acts may also impact an application, not to mention disqualifying results from the NICS check which analyzes federal databases.
A permit is not necessary when carrying a concealed pistol in one’s abode or fixed place of business. To add to that, under Alabama Code Section 13A-11-73 (b) a permit is not necessary if carrying an unloaded pistol in a locked compartment or container that is “out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.”
According to Alabama Code Section 13A-11-74, there are also exceptions to the permit requirement for certain law enforcement officers, active duty members of U.S. Armed Forces and other applicable parties. As this is not formal legal advice, please consult state legal authorities to confirm any questions regarding concealed carry rights and exceptions.
Currently, under certain circumstances being caught carrying a concealed pistol without the appropriate qualification under state code may result in a fine between $50 to $500 with up to six months jail time or hard labor, according to Alabama Code Section 13A-11-50.
Alabama Gun Laws Restrict Firearms in Certain Locations
Alabama gun laws, specifically Alabama Code Section 13A-11-61.2, outline specific locations where firearms may not be carried without the express permission of the location’s authorities.
Police, sheriff and highway patrol station buildings On or inside the premises of a prison, jail, halfway house, community corrections facility or other detention facilities Facilities that provide inpatient or custodial care for those with psychiatric, mental or emotional disorders In courthouses, courthouse annexes, buildings that house a district attorney office or buildings where a county commission or city council is having a meeting Inside facilities hosting professional athletic events not related to firearms, and the events are sponsored by private or public elementary, secondary or postsecondary school/institution — with an exception for those with an Alabama permit or a permit from a state Alabama’s reciprocity program recognizes Within facilities hosting a professional athletic event not related to firearms, again with the same exception for those with a qualifying permit
The authorities in those locations must post signs alerting the public of the firearms restrictions on the premises.
There are also firearms restrictions in certain locations that limit access to unauthorized persons and articles during hours of operation with security guards posted or other security measures.
Except for certain parties listed in this code, Alabama Code Section 13A-11-52 outlines that one may not carry their weapon on private property not under their control unless they either have a valid permit or the consent of the owner or legal possessor of the premises.
It is a misdemeanor offense to carry a firearm on one’s person or in their vehicle while participating in or attending demonstrations (such as picketing, speeches, marching, etc.) at a public place, according to Alabama Code Section 13A-11-59.
Employers may restrict ccw or prohibit their employees from carrying firearms on their property while the employee is on the job, even if they have a permit, according to Alabama Code Section 13A-11-90.
To add to location considerations, reciprocity is an important matter to consider, but it’s fairly straightforward in Alabama.
Alabama concealed carry reciprocity
Alabama concealed carry reciprocity standards are outlined in Alabama Code Section 13A-11-85.
Under state law, anyone licensed to carry a handgun in any state is authorized to carry that handgun in Alabama. This applies only to license holders from another state while they are not residents of this state.
While nonresidents visit Alabama, they are subject to Alabama’s gun laws, just as Alabamians are when they travel to any other state in the U.S. with their CCWs. Nearly 30 states recognize an Alabama concealed carry permit, but Alabamians should research the firearms laws of the state they’re traveling to before crossing state lines with a firearm. A regularly updated CCW reciprocity map will provide a good foundation for that.