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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.

Code Sections Alabama Code Title 13A: Criminal Code, Chapter 11: Offenses Against Public Order & Safety, Article 3: Offenses Relating to Firearms & Weapons
Types of Illegal Guns Alabama prohibits possessing, buying, selling, or using a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun AKA sawed-off shotgun. This is a Class C felony that is subject to 1 to 10 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.

It’s also illegal to carry a cane gun, no matter how ornate a piece of art it may be. The penalty is a fine of $500 to $1,000 and imprisonment for not more than two years.

Alabama is one of 42 states that don’t regulate assault rifles (semi-automatic firearms with military features for accurate and rapid spray firing).
Waiting Period Before Purchase None. Only 10 states and D.C. have waiting periods that apply to some or all firearm purchases. In addition, you don’t need a gun permit to buy a firearm.
Who May Not Own Guns Alabama prohibits several different categories of individuals from owning or possessing pistols, namely those who are:
  • Convicted of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence (murder, non-vehicular manslaughter, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, larceny, mayhem, or assault with intent to rob, ravish, or murder) in Alabama or elsewhere
  • Addicted to drugs or a habitual drunkard
  • A person of unsound mind
  • Anyone convicted of, or under a protective order for, domestic violence

Minors under 18 years old may carry pistols for use in a firearm or hunter safety course or firing range; for organized competition with a non-profit group; or for hunting where permitted with a parent or guardian; in Armed Services or National Armed; and in self-defense at own residence.

Judges must report all individuals to the police who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or who have been found not guilty of mental disorders. Although, the individual can appeal to have the right reinstated. 

Note that these gun control laws don’t apply to the sale of antique pistols for decoration or to their transport, if unloaded and in a securely wrapped package, but not concealed on the person.

Laws Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds Several laws in Alabama are designed to prevent school gun violence, including that no one with the intent to harm anyone can possess a deadly weapon (guns, knives, grenades, bombs, metal knuckles, etc.) on a public school for grades K-12.

Students who bring a gun to school, school buses, or school-sponsored functions will be mandatorily expelled for one year.
Other Prohibited Places for Guns Even if a person has a concealed carry permit, you can’t bring guns into any of the following places:
  • Law enforcement station
  • Prison, jail, or juvenile detention
  • Facility for people with mental illness
  • Courthouse, District Attorney’s Office, or city council meeting space

Additionally, unless you have a concealed carry permit from Alabama or some other states, you can’t bring firearms into a school, college, or professional athletic event. No one can bring guns into a secured building unless expressly permitted. No guns permitted signs should be posted at the public entrances. Offenses are charged as a Class C misdemeanor.

Employees are lawfully permitted to keep guns in their privately owned vehicles while parked in a public or private parking lot.  

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.

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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