Am I Allowed to Carry a Handgun in Alabama?

Guns and weapons laws are strictly enforced in Alabama. The local US Attorney’s Office has built a strong reputation for establishing precedents in matters of felony possession of guns and weapons. In the absence of competent representation, you risk facing serious consequences, including significant time behind bars.

Moreover, there is a chance that the prosecution will be able to raise the charges to a federal felony, including cases where the firearm has traveled between state lines. These are bleak circumstances, and you require the strongest defense possible on your side, fighting for your interests and helping you avoid an extended jail sentence.

Alabama is considered an “open carry” state when it comes to handguns.  That means if you want to openly carry a firearm without a permit, you are allowed to as long as you are at least 18 years old and legally allowed to own a firearm.

Also, in Alabama it is fairly easy to obtain a gun. There are no background checks or firearms or permit registrations required when buying a handgun from a private individual. However, when you buy a firearm from a dealer, they are required to initiate a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Limitations to Open Carry

There are limitations. You cannot open carry in the areas of schools and courthouses. 

Thirty-one states allow open carry without a permit while five states – California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia prohibit the open carrying of handguns in public. Fifteen states require either a license or permit to openly carry a handgun.

You are not allowed to possess a short-barreled rifle or sawed-off shotgun in Alabama. It is a Class C felony and can bring a $15,000 fine and 10 years in prison. 

Unless you have had your rights restored, someone who is a felon cannot legally own a gun or use one in self-defense in Alabama. Also, you cannot possess a firearm if you have been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent offense, including domestic violence, those designated as alcoholics or drug addicts, and those who cause harm on the grounds of a public school.

According to the Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a patchwork of different state laws regarding open carry can increase conflict and potentially endanger public safety.

Concealed Carry

The rules are different if you want to carry a gun and have it concealed.  In that case you need to have an Alabama pistol permit, however, you do not have to take a firearms safety course or demonstrate any knowledge of firearm safety prior to receiving the permit.  You again must be at least 18 years old.

If you are carrying from another state? No problem. Alabama will recognize all out-of-state concealed carry permits.

You can carry your concealed handgun in a vehicle in Alabama, but you need a pistol permit from Alabama or from another state that Alabama honors.  If you do not have the permit, you must carry your gun unloaded and locked in a container or compartment that is out of reach of the driver.

You will need a pistol permit to carry a concealed firearm in a roadside rest area, a state and national forest, and wildlife management area.

Weapons other than handguns are not allowed, however if you want to carry a taser or stun gun they are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

The only exception is the City of Mobile where you are required to have a city permit from the local police. Stun guns and tasers are not allowed on school property even in a vehicle on school property in the City of Montgomery. 

Stand Your Ground

In some states, the Stand Your Ground laws have been controversial.  Not so much in Alabama. The advantage clearly goes to the gun owner. If you believe you are facing imminent harm or injury you can use force for self-defense, including your weapon.  So, if you believe someone is entering your car or your home unlawfully, if they are engaged in a rape, kidnapping, assault, or robbery, the law allows a person in Alabama to use deadly force for self-defense. 

Even though it may make more sense to leave the scene of an escalating controversy, in Alabama you do not have a duty to retreat.  The catch is you need to be in a place you have a right to be, and you need to not be engaged in doing anything illegal. 

You can even Stand Your Ground if you are defending a third person who you reasonably believe is being threatened.

Penalties for Violations

State gun law violations may carry more than one year of jail time or a fine of up to $500. Certain offenses are, of course, considered more egregious than others and are associated with more severe penalties, including:

  • Up to five years behind bars for those convicted of providing incorrect information to obtain a firearm.
  • Up to five years of jail time for those found guilty of attempted commission or committing a violent crime while possessing a firearm.
  • Between one and ten years behind bars for those unlawfully in possession of short-barreled shotguns or short-barreled rifles.
  • Between one and ten years behind bars for those found guilty of the possession of deadly weapons with the intent to cause harm on a public school site.

Darley Law Represents You

If you have been charged with a violent crime, Darley Law would like to discuss how to protect your rights. We have years of experience providing legal options to our clients who are facing criminal charges.  Call on Darley Law to be by your side to help you navigate the Alabama criminal justice system. Help is just a phone call away. Reach us in our Mobile office at 251-441-7772.

Sources:

Concealed Carry
https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/al-gun-laws/

FBI
https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics

Law Center
https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/guns-in-public/open-carry/