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. 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.
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.
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. 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. The applicant may appeal the denial to the district court of the county where the denial was issued.
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.
Duration & Renewal
An applicant may request an Alabama license to carry a concealed handgun for a period of one to five years. The sheriff may also revoke a license for any reason that would have led to the denial of the permit application.
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.
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. 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.