Alabama is considered an "open carry" state, which means that most adults may openly carry a firearm without a permit. The Alabama State Constitution makes it clear that all citizens have "a fundamental right to bear arms" for self-defense and defense of the state (Ala. Const. Art. I, § 26).
This doesn't mean, however, that everyone is allowed to have a gun or carry one wherever they like. Alabama courts have long held that the state may impose reasonable regulations on the right to bear arms. This article explains state laws on concealed carry permits, people who aren't allowed to have guns, places where guns are banned, and prohibited firearms.
It's illegal to have a firearm in Alabama if you:
If you're charged with this crime, you can try to defend yourself by arguing that you needed the gun for self-defense; however, you can't rely on Alabama's "stand your ground" law, meaning that you must retreat if that's possible. (Ala. Code §§ 13A-3-23, 13A-11-72; Fuller v. State, 231 So.3d 1207 (Ala. Crim. App. 2015).)
You must have a permit in Alabama to carry a handgun if it's concealed or in a vehicle, unless you're in your home, on your land, or at your fixed place of business. Unless you're prohibited from owning a gun, you can keep a pistol in your vehicle if it's unloaded or locked in a container and out of reach, even if you don't have a concealed weapon permit.
The permit requirement doesn't apply to on-duty law enforcement officers, military personnel, and certain other authorized individuals. (Ala. Code § § 13A-11-73, 13A-11-74.)
Unless you're an on-duty law enforcement or other authorized official, you may not carry guns in certain places, including:
(Ala. Code §§ 9-11-304, 13A-11-59, 13A-11-61.2.)
Alabama also bans possession or carrying of certain types of guns and ammunition, including:
(Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-54, 13A-11-60, 13A-11-63, 13A-11-64.)
In Alabama, most gun carry violations are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. However, the following violations are Class C felonies, punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000:
(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-6, 13A-5-7, 13A-5-11, 13A-5-12, 13A-11-60, 13A-11-63, 13A-11-64, 13A-11-72, 13A-11-81, 13A-11-84.)
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time. You can use this search tool find the current statutes discussed in this article.
As you can see, the penalties for violating gun carry laws may be serious. 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 violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.
Updated May 30, 2019