Ammunition Regulation in Alabama

Alabama law prohibits the possession or sale of brass or steel teflon-coated handgun ammunition or ammunition of like kind designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests. However, this prohibition does not apply to the possession or sale of teflon-coated lead or brass ammunition designed to expand upon contact.1

Alabama does not:

  • Require a license for the sale of ammunition;
  • Require sellers of ammunition to maintain a record of the purchasers; or

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-60. ⤴︎

Background Check Procedures in Alabama

See our Background Check Procedures policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Alabama is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Alabama law simply reiterates the federal requirement that firearms dealers must initiate background checks through NICS prior to transferring firearms.1 As a result, in Alabama, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.2 Alabama law also independently requires licensed handgun dealers to view a purchaser’s identification before transferring a handgun.3 To the extent possible, all information from any state or local government agency that is necessary to complete a NICS check must be provided to the Criminal Justice Information Center.4

Alabama does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See the Alabama Private Sales section.

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 41-9-649. ⤴︎
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map. ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-79. ⤴︎
  4. Ala. Code § 41-9-649. ⤴︎

Categories of Prohibited People in Alabama

See our Categories of Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Alabama law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess or own a firearm, or have a firearm under his or her control, if he or she:1
• Has been convicted2 of committing, or attempting to commit, a crime of violence or a violent offense,3 or a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence; 4
• Is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse; or5
• Is of unsound mind.6

Additionally, subject to limited exceptions, Alabama law prohibits the ownership, possession, or control of a handgun by any person who is under 18 years of age, a drug addict, or “an habitual drunkard.”7

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Alabama Background Checks section.

Alabama has no laws preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by juvenile offenders.

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). ⤴︎
  2. The term “convicted” requires that “the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel in the case if required by law, and either the case was tried before a judge, tried by a jury, or the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried, by guilty plea or otherwise.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(k). Additionally, a person may not be considered to have been convicted for the purposes of this section if the person is not considered to have been convicted in the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held or if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, or is of an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Id. ⤴︎
  3. These include murder, manslaughter (except manslaughter arising out of the operation of a vehicle), rape, mayhem, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to ravish, assault with intent to murder, robbery, burglary, stalking, child abuse, and kidnapping crimes. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-70, 12-25-32(15). It also includes any Class A felony or any Class B felony that has as an element serious physical injury, the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, or is of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-70. ⤴︎
  4. The term “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” as used in this section means a misdemeanor offense that has, as its elements, the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, person with whom the defendant has a child in common, or a present or former household member. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(l). ⤴︎
  5. The term “valid protection order” as used in this section means an order issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate, that does any of the following: (1) restrains the respondent from harassing, stalking, or threatening a spouse or former spouse of the respondent, an individual who is a parent of a child of the respondent, or an individual who cohabitates or has cohabited with the respondent, or a child of such individuals, or that restrains the respondent from engaging in other conduct that would place such an individual in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the individual or child and that includes a finding that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the individual or child. A valid protection order must also (2) by its terms, explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the qualified individual or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(m). ⤴︎
  6. The term “unsound mind” as used in this section includes any person who is subject to any of the findings listed below, and who has not had his or her rights to possess a firearm reinstated by operation of law or legal process:

    (1) Found by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease, is a danger to himself or herself or others or lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.

    (2) Found to be insane, not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, found mentally incompetent to stand trial, or found not guilty by a reason of lack of mental responsibility by a court in a criminal case, to include state, federal and military courts.

    (3) Involuntarily committed for a final commitment for inpatient treatment to the Department of Mental Health or a Veterans” Administration hospital by a court after a hearing. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(o). ⤴︎

  7. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(b). See also Ala. Code § 13A-11-76 (defining minor as a person under age 18). ⤴︎

Concealed Carry in Alabama

See our Concealed Carry policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Alabama does not prohibit a person from carrying a concealed firearm in public if the person has a concealed handgun license. Generally, no person may carry a handgun concealed on or about his or her person, except on his or her land, in his or her abode or fixed place of business, without a concealed handgun license.1 However, a defendant being tried for carrying a concealed firearm in public without a license may give evidence that at the time of carrying the concealed weapon, he has good reason to apprehend an attack, which the jury may consider in mitigation of the punishment or in justification of the offense.2

Alabama is a “shall issue” state, meaning that a sheriff of a county must issue a concealed handgun license to an applicant who meets statutory criteria and is not prohibited from possessing a handgun or firearm pursuant to state or federal law.3

Alabama allows a sheriff limited discretion to deny a license if the sheriff has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person may use a firearm to endanger his or herself or others.4 In making such a determination, the sheriff may, but is not required to, consider whether the applicant:

  • Was found guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case.
  • Was found not guilty in a criminal case by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect.
  • Was declared incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case.
  • Asserted a defense in a criminal case of not guilty by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect.
  • Was found not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • Required involuntary inpatient treatment in a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility.
  • Required involuntary outpatient treatment in a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility based on a finding that the person is an imminent danger to himself or herself or to others.
  • Required involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility for any reason, including drug use.
  • Is or was the subject of a prosecution or of a commitment or incompetency proceeding that could lead to a prohibition on the receipt or possession of a firearm under the laws of Alabama or the United States.
  • Falsified any portion of the permit application.
  • Caused justifiable concern for public safety.

The sheriff may also take into consideration how recently any of the events occurred. If the sheriff chooses to deny the permit, he or she must provide a written statement to the applicant.5 The applicant may appeal the denial to the district court of the county where the denial was issued.6

Firearm Safety Training

Alabama does not require the applicant to complete a firearm safety course or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearm safety prior to issuance of a license.7

Duration & Renewal

An applicant may request an Alabama license to carry a concealed handgun for a period of one to five years.8  The sheriff may also revoke a license for any reason that would have led to the denial of the permit application.9

Disclosure or Use of Information

Alabama prohibits the disclosure of the name, address, signature, photograph, and any other personally identifying information collected from an applicant for a concealed handgun license or of any concealed handgun licensee. Such information may only be used for law enforcement purposes except when a current licensee is charged in any state with a felony involving the use of a pistol. The sheriff of a county must redact the name, address, signature, and photograph of an applicant or licensee before releasing a copy of a license for a non-law enforcement purpose. Other information, including the annual number of applicants, number of licenses issued, number of licenses denied, revenue from issuance of licenses, and any other fiscal or statistical data remains public.10

Reciprocity

Alabama generally recognizes reciprocal concealed weapons permits from other states. A license holder from another state must carry a handgun in compliance with the laws of Alabama.11 For a list of states with which Alabama has entered into full or partial reciprocal agreements, see the Alabama Reciprocal Gun Law page of the Alabama Attorney General’s web site.

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-73 and 13A-11-74. This prohibition does not apply, however, to any person permitted by law to possess a handgun while carrying it unloaded in a secure wrapper, from the place of purchase to his or her home or place of business, or to or from a place of repair or in moving from one place of abode or business to another. Ala. Code § 13A-11-74. ⤴︎
  2. Ala. Code § 13A-11-51. ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)(a). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)b). ⤴︎
  6. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(3). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a). ⤴︎
  9. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(2). Certain exceptions exist for the revocation of licenses for veterans. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75.1(c). ⤴︎
  10. Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(e). ⤴︎
  11. Ala. Code § 13A-11-85. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Alabama

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Under a law adopted in 2009, Alabama generally authorizes a law enforcement officer to disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.1 The officer must return the firearm to the individual before discharging that individual unless the officer arrests that individual for engaging in criminal activity or seizes the firearm as evidence pursuant to an investigation for the commission of a crime or, at the discretion of the officer, the individual poses a threat to himself or herself or to others.2

Another Alabama statute states that “[i]t shall be the duty of any sheriff, policeman, or other peace officer of the State of Alabama, arresting any person charged with violating Sections 13A-11-71 through 13A-11-73 [regarding lawful possession of firearms and prohibited persons], or any one or more of those sections, to seize the [handguns] in the possession or under the control of the person or persons charged with violating the section or sections [above.]”3 The arresting officer must then deliver the handguns to one of the following named persons: if a municipal officer makes the arrest, to the city clerk or custodian of stolen property of the municipality employing the arresting officer; if a county, state, or other peace officer makes the arrest, to the sheriff of the county in which the arrest is made.4 The person receiving the handguns from the arresting officer must keep them in a safe place in as good condition as received until disposed of.5 Within five days after the final conviction of any person arrested for violating any of the sections above, the person receiving possession of the seized handguns must report the seizure and detention of said handguns to the district attorney within the county where the handguns are seized, giving a full description thereof, the number, make and model thereof, the name of the person in whose possession they were found when seized, the person making claim to same or any interest therein, if the name can be ascertained or is known, and the date of the seizure.6

Upon receipt of the report from the person receiving possession of the seized handguns, it shall be the duty of the district attorney within the county where the handguns were seized to “forthwith” file a complaint in the circuit court of the proper county, praying that the seized handguns be declared contraband, be forfeited to the state and be destroyed.7 Any person, firm or corporation or association of persons in whose possession said handguns may be seized or who claim to own or have any interest in the seized handguns shall be made a party defendant to the complaint, and the matter shall proceed and be determined in the circuit court of the proper county.8 When any judgment of condemnation and forfeiture is made in any case filed under this section the judge making the judgment shall direct the destruction of the handguns by the person receiving possession of them from the arresting officer in the presence of the clerk or register of the court, unless the judge is of the opinion that nondestruction of the handguns is necessary or proper in the ends of justice, in which event and upon recommendation of the district attorney, the judge shall award the handguns to the sheriff of the county or to the chief of police of the municipality to be used exclusively by the sheriff or the chief of police in the enforcement of law.9 In such a case, the sheriff of the county and the chiefs of police of the municipalities must keep a permanent record of all handguns awarded to them.10 The court may also direct in the judgment that the costs of the proceedings be paid by the person in whose possession the seized handguns were found, or by any party or parties who claim to own said handguns, or any interest therein, and who contested the condemnation and forfeiture thereof.11

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code §§ 31-9-8(d)(2), 31-9-10(d)(2). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-84(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Alabama

Alabama enacted a law in 2015 to prohibit possession of a firearm by individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses or other specified violent offenses (including stalking, child abuse, and domestic violence crimes),1 and by individuals subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse.2

The term “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” as used in this section means a misdemeanor offense that has, as its elements, the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, person with whom the defendant has a child in common, or a present or former household member.3

The term “valid protection order” as used in this section means an order issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate, that does any of the following: (1) restrains the respondent from harassing, stalking, or threatening a spouse or former spouse of the respondent, an individual who is a parent of a child of the respondent, or an individual who cohabitates or has cohabited with the respondent, or a child of such individuals, or that restrains the respondent from engaging in other conduct that would place such an individual in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the individual or child and that includes a finding that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the individual or child. A valid protection order must also (2) by its terms, explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the qualified individual or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.4 

Alabama law also authorizes a judge or magistrate, who is releasing a person who has been charged with domestic violence or violation of a protection order on bail, to prohibit the person from possessing a firearm, as a condition of bail, except when such weapon is necessary for the person’s employment as a peace officer or military personnel.5

Alabama law still does not:

  • Require courts to notify domestic abusers when they become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law;
  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law; or
  • Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident, although Alabama authorizes a law enforcement officer to disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual. Alabama also makes it the duty of an officer arresting a person charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm to seize any handguns in that person’s possession or control.6

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 12-25-32(15). ⤴︎
  2. 2015 AL H.B. 47, amending Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(l). ⤴︎
  4. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(m). ⤴︎
  5. Ala. Code § 15-13-190. ⤴︎
  6. Ala. Code §§ 31-9-8(d), 31-9-10(d), 13A-11-84(b). ⤴︎