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Alabama Gun Control Laws

Even in states with a strong sense of an individual's constitutional right to bear arms, some regulation is needed to keep the public safe from gun violence. Alabama has very liberal gun control laws in comparison to most states. Despite this, Alabama still regulates some aspects of firearm ownership and possession. New gun laws went into effect on September 1st, 2015, most notably to provide further protection for those in domestic violence situations, and to prevent those with a mental illness from legally purchasing a weapon.

The following table describes Alabama's main gun control laws.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Alabama Criminal Code, Chapter 11, Article 3, Sections 50 - 85

Illegal Arms

In addition to federally mandated laws, it is illegal to own a firearm that has had its manufacturing number altered or removed.

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period for a firearm in Alabama.

Who May Not Own

  1. Anyone that has been convicted of committing, or attempting to commit, a violent crime, a misdemeanor act of domestic violence, or one of the felonious "violent offenses" specifically listed in the criminal statute
  2. Those under a domestic abuse protection order
  3. Individuals found to be of "unsound mind" based on incompetency, mental illness, marked subnormal intelligence, lack of mental capacity, or being a danger to oneself or others
  4. Defendants in criminal cases found to be insane, not guilty by reason of mental illness, or mentally unfit to stand trial
  5. Those who have been involuntarily committed for a final commitment of inpatient care to the Department of Mental Health or a Veterans Administration
  6. Drug addicts
  7. "Habitual drunkards"
  8. Minors under 18 years of age

License Required?

Alabama does not require a license to purchase or own a gun.

Concealed Carry License Required?

Alabama requires residents to have an Alabama Pistol Permit to carry a concealed weapon in public. Non-residents must have an out-of-state concealed carry permit. You are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on your residential property or place of business without a concealed carry license.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is allowed if the firearm is secured, such as in a holster. You may not carry a rifle or a shotgun walking cane.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

You must be a resident of Alabama and at least 18 years old to obtain an Alabama Pistol License to carry a concealed handgun. The state may also grant licenses to those in the active military and their spouses. Alabama is a "shall issue" state, which means that if you meet the licensing requirements and are not among those who are not allowed to carry a gun, the state must issue you an Alabama Pistol Permit.

Machine Gun Laws

It is illegal to own a machine gun in Alabama, pursuant to federal law, which prohibits the possession of machine guns made after May 19, 1986.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

Violations of concealed carry laws, or possession by a minor, drug addict, or "habitual drunkard" can result in a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted violent felon, domestic abuser, or anyone of an "unsound mind" is a Class C Felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

It is illegal to knowingly carry a firearm in a public school or school bus used for grades K-12 unless the holder has a concealed carry license. Penalties for such violations can be considered a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and fines up to $15,000, depending on if the school or bus is occupied or unoccupied. Firearms are allowed on college and university campuses.

Note: State laws change all the time, it's important to verify the state laws you are researching by conducting your own legal research or speaking with a knowledgeable attorney.

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Need Legal Help? Find a Local Lawyer.

If you're concerned about losing the right to your guns, want your gun rights reinstated, or have been charged with a gun-related crime, you may need to speak to an experienced Alabama criminal defense or constitutional rights attorney.

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