Alabama is basically a supporter of the Second Amendment and seeks to protect gun rights rather than implementing stricter gun control. It has only recently passed legislation to make the Alabama a permitless carry state and the general mood here is pro gun.
A strong hunting community and a Conservative voting base mean this Red State generally supports the Second Amendment and its citizens’ right to bear arms.
Constitutional carry is a great thing, but there is a little confusion in the Alabama gun laws. Any 19 year old with a legal firearm can carry concealed without a permit, but you must be 21 years old to buy a gun from a registered dealer. At the same time there are no background checks for private sales and so that’s the route the younger folks who want to carry have to go down.
It opens the door for strawman purchases followed by private sales to keep the paperwork straight, which isn’t a good look. And if a 19-year-old can carry, a 19-year-old should be able to buy the gun from the store.
An 18 yar old can buy a shotgun or rifle, too, and open carry a handgun., So it just feels the Alabama gun laws could do with bringing into a clean line.
For the latest amendments and a full description of the local gun laws, go here.
Alabama Gun Laws – The Highlights
We’ll get more in depth in a moment, but the headlines on Alabama’s selection of gun laws and restrictions include:
- Constitutional Carry – Permitless carry for 19 year olds without felonies or other restrictions.
- 18 year olds can open carry.
- 18 year old and up can buy a rifle or shotgun from a dealer, or a handgun from 21 years and up.
- No background checks on private sales.
- No waiting period
- No state restrictions on large capacity magazines or ‘assault weapons’.
Overview of Alabama’s Gun Laws
Alabama’s gun laws are designed to balance the right to bear arms with the need for public safety, but it’s very much a gun friendly State. The state allows for open carry of handguns without a permit for individuals over the age of 18, provided they are legally allowed to possess a firearm.
However, the recent shift towards permitless carry, effective from January 1, 2023, marks a significant change, allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms without the need for a state-issued permit.
Who Can Own and Carry?
Alabama’s laws stipulate that individuals must be at least 18 years old to purchase a rifle or shotgun and 21 years old to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer. The state imposes restrictions on firearm possession for those convicted of violent crimes, deemed mentally incompetent, or under a protective order, among other disqualifications.
Obviously a 19 year old can carry a concealed firearm, without a permit, but has to buy it on the private market. It’s weird.
An 18 year old in active service in the military or law enforcement can also carry concealed.
Reciprocity: Out of State Permits
Alabama recognizes concealed carry permits from all other states, facilitating ease of travel for permit holders. This reciprocity ensures that individuals who are legally permitted to carry a concealed firearm in their home state can do so in Alabama, while permitless carry applies to its own citizens.
Gun Free Zones in Alabama
Despite the permissiveness of Alabama’s gun laws, certain locations are designated as no-carry zones. These include courthouses, police, sheriff or highway patrol stations, prisons, jails, mental health facilities, and places where federal law takes over. It’s crucial for gun owners to be aware of and respect these restrictions to avoid legal complications.
Self-Defense and the Castle Doctrine
Alabama adheres to the Castle Doctrine, allowing individuals to use force, including deadly force, to defend themselves or others against a perceived threat of serious harm or death within their home, vehicle, or place of business.
This law eliminates the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense, provided the individual is lawfully present and not engaged in illegal activity.
Purchasing and Owning Firearms in Alabama
The process of purchasing firearms in Alabama is straightforward, with background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for purchases from licensed dealers.
Private sales between individuals do not require a background check, though it is illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to someone prohibited from owning one.
Rules on AR-15s and High Capacity Mags
Alabama has not implemented any restrictions on magazine capacity and has not tried to ban specific features on rifles. The only ban we can find is on guns disguised as walking canes. It’s strange, but it’s there.
Hunting and Outdoor Traditions
Hunting is an integral part of Alabama’s cultural heritage, with gun laws that support this tradition. The state offers abundant hunting opportunities, with specific regulations governing hunting seasons, licensing, and the use of firearms for hunting purposes. These laws reflect Alabama’s commitment to conservation and the respectful, responsible use of firearms in the great outdoors.
White Tail Deer hunting, turkey hunting and even black bear hunting have long been a part of the Alabama lifestyle. And just sometimes the people need to scare off a mountain lion.
Conclusion: A Tradition of Responsibility and Rights
Alabama’s gun laws embody a deep-seated respect for the Second Amendment and individual rights, balanced with a commitment to public safety. The state’s approach to permitless carry, reciprocity, and self-defense laws reflect a trust in responsible gun ownership.
Navigating Alabama’s gun laws requires an understanding of both the freedoms and responsibilities that come with gun ownership. In the Heart of Dixie, the right to bear arms goes hand in hand with a tradition of responsibility, ensuring that Alabama remains a place where freedom and safety coexist.