In Alabama, adults can purchase a handgun without a permit, but you must usually obtain a license to carry a gun in your car or concealed on or near your body. Read on to learn whether you need a handgun license and, if so, how to get one.
Note that the rules discussed in this article apply to pistols -- that is, firearms with barrels less than 12” long. (Alabama Code § 13A-11-70.) Rifles and other weapons may be subject to additional rules. In addition, certain individuals are barred by law from owning or carrying a handgun.
For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carry Laws in Alabama.
Exemptions From Gun Permit Requirements
You do not need to obtain a license to carry a pistol on your own land, or in your own home or fixed place of business. (Alabama Code § 13A-11-73.)
In addition, the following individuals are not required to obtain a pistol permit in Alabama:
- full-time, sworn law enforcement officers
- members of the armed forces or National Guard when on duty or going to or from duty
- regularly enrolled members of any organization that is authorized to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from the State of Alabama, if they are at or going to or from their places of assembly or target practices
- officers or employees of the United States who are authorized to carry a pistol
- people legally engaged in manufacturing, repairing or dealing in pistols, or their agents or representatives of such people when possessing, using, or carrying a pistol in the usual course of business
- any licensed common carrier, except taxicabs
- any person allowed by law to possess a pistol while carrying it unloaded in a secure wrapper, from the place of purchase to his home or place of business, or to or from a place of repair or in moving from one home or business to another.
(Alabama Code § 13A-11-74.)
How to Obtain a Gun Permit in Alabama
To obtain a pistol license, you must apply at the office of the sheriff in the county where you live. State law authorizes the sheriff’s office to give you the license if you have a good reason to fear injury to yourself or your property, or if you have any other proper reason for carrying a pistol. (Alabama Code § 13A-11-75.)
To qualify, you must usually be at least 21 years old, and you must have a valid Alabama Driver’s License, Alabama Identification Card, or active military identification card. Be prepared to pay a fee, often around $20, for the license. The license will be valid for one year, and then you will need to renew it.
Does Alabama Recognize Gun Permits From Other States?
Alabama will recognize pistol permits or concealed weapons licenses issued by other states that recognize similar permits issued by the State of Alabama. For a list of states with reciprocal gun permit laws, see the website of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Permit
If you do not meet any of the exemptions above and you fail to get a permit, you could be sent to jail for up to one year or fined up to $500. (Alabama Code § 13A-11-84.) Penalties for more serious gun violations are more severe.
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Alabama, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.