FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Alabama Gun Laws

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Introduction

What stands out about Alabama’s criminal laws and how they impact carry of a handgun is their simplicity or lack of laws.  There is a peculiar statutory prohibition on brass or steel Teflon-coated handgun ammunition, but a fair reading of the statutes indicate that it seeks to make unlawful handgun ammunition of types that would or is designed to penetrate a police officer’s body armor.  Open carry of handguns is legal in Alabama with a valid license to carry.

For orientation to reciprocal carry, the population is a little under five (5) million people. The states bordering Alabama are Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west.

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A. State Constitution

The Alabama constitution provides the right to keep and bear arms:

“That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and that state.”

[http://gunla.ws/AL1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

In Alabama, there is strong state-level preemption on local government’s ability to regulate firearms. This is addressed in two (2) statutory provisions that differentiate between handguns and other firearms. Generally speaking, the state alone maintains the right to pass criminal laws on and otherwise regulate firearms.

Alabama’s firearm preemption provision is very precise:

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Act 2013 – 283 or as expressly authorized by a statute of this state, the Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of regulation in this state touching in any way upon firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or rule promulgated or enforced by any political subdivision of this state. [http://gunla.ws/AL2]

Given Alabama’s very limited authority bestowed upon local government, a person contemplating reciprocal carry, as an out-of-state licensee, should start by familiarizing himself/herself with the state criminal prohibitions relating to firearms. The state (not local) government makes the firearms law where the most severe penalties for violation lie, remembering the federal criminal prohibitions that apply in every state.

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C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Alabama has a clear reciprocity provision recognizing out-of-state licensees:

“A person licensed to carry a handgun in any state shall be authorized to carry a handgun in this state. This section shall apply to a license holder from another state only while the license holder is not a resident of this state. A license holder from another state shall carry the handgun in compliance with the laws of this state.”

Alabama now has a reciprocity agreement with all states.  In order for this to occur, the Alabama Attorney General requires both states’ licensing laws must be substantially similar.  The most current, official Alabama reciprocal gun law chart is referenced by this hyperlink [http://gunla.ws/AL3]

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D. NFA Items

Alabama permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal.

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E. Duty to Inform Officers

Alabama law does not specifically state that you have to present your Permit/License to a LEO immediately upon contact. It does say a Permit is required if you carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on your person. You would have to present it to an officer if they knew you had a pistol in your vehicle or concealed on your person as a Permit/License is required to carry in those instances. If you did not have a Permit/License you would be in violation of 13A-11-73. It is recommended You always carry your Permit/License.

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F. Possession at Work

An employer may not restrict the storage or transportation of a lawfully possessed pistol or ammunition in a privately-owned vehicle parked on public or private land, subject to certain restrictions: having a valid concealed weapon permit and the gun is out of sight.  40-12-134(b).  The handgun must be unloaded, locked in container stored in the vehicle and out of reach of any occupants.  An employer who believes an employee is a danger to themselves or others may ask if the employee has a firearm in their vehicle, and if so, may further inquire to make sure the firearm is being stored in accordance with the provisions above.

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G. Self-defense Laws

Alabama has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in any place You have a legal right to be, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or SBI, to prevent kidnapping, robbery, burglary, or forcible rape, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle. [http://gunla.ws/AL4]

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H. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

It is a crime to carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle without a license.  An individual may carry a pistol without a permit on their land or business property owned by the individual. 13A-11-73(a). An individual may not carry a pistol on his person on a premises that is not his own and/or is merely under his control without a license.

Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a person legally permitted to possess a pistol, but who does not possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may possess an unloaded pistol in his or her motor vehicle if the pistol is 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.

[http://gunla.ws/AL5]

 

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I. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. Alabama currently has no laws prohibiting individuals who are otherwise lawfully allowed to carry a firearm from doing so in restaurants that serve alcohol.

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J. Criminal Provisions

A prudent person contemplating possessing a firearm in a state other than where they live, particularly with reciprocal handgun carry, should understand the other state’s basic criminal laws. The top criminal acts relative to the state’s penal orientation (highly complex and numerous in some densely populated areas to virtually nonexistent in some southern or western states) relating to firearms are set forth.

However, it is critical to remember every rule has exceptions that may or may not apply. And they may be contained in statutes, rules, regulations or cases. These too should be considered as necessary, remembering always that federal firearms law also applies in all states. In states that do not have complete state preemption, local laws must be followed. Finally, in states with Native Americans, their lands are subject to tribal laws and restrictions on firearms.  A CCP is invalid in the following locations:

  • Any place prohibited by federal law
  • At public demonstrations, pickets, or protests
  • A courthouse
  • A jail/prison
  • The Alabama statehouse
  • A facility providing inpatient or custodial care of those with psychiatric, mental, or emotional disorders
  • A building where a county commission or city council is currently having a meeting.
  • On the property of a public K-12 school
  • At the facility of a sports game sponsored by a private or public elementary or secondary school, or any private or public postsecondary education institution, unless You have the permission of the person hosting the event
  • At secured locations with restricted access and security guards
  • Discharging a firearm into a school, bus, building, train, automobile, aircraft, or watercraft is prohibited
  • The sale and possession of handgun ammunition with Teflon-coated bullets made from brass or steel is prohibited, except for hollow points made from either brass or lead.
  • It is illegal to carry a rifle or shotgun walking cane.

For a list of places where carrying firearms in prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/AL6]

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K. Other Considerations

In addition, always consider the other areas of restrictions relating to firearms and/or reciprocal carry, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Federal property and law on airports and schools
  • Common areas and places and events and gatherings
  • Case law, local government ordinances, custom and practice, including those related to hunting and outdoor activities

For the entire collection of Alabama laws regarding firearms and weapons, see:

[http://gunla.ws/AL7]

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More