Alabama is considered an “open carry” state, which means that it is generally legal for an adult to openly carry a firearm without a permit. Ala. Code § 13A-11-7 clarifies that carrying a visible pistol is not disorderly conduct if the pistol is holstered or secured. In fact, according to Section 26 of the Alabama State Constitution, every citizen “has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
Alabama’s open carry policy does not mean, however, that everyone may have a gun, or that you may always carry a gun wherever you like. The sections that follow explain who may not have a gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a gun is illegal.
Alabama’s laws forbid the following individuals from possessing a firearm:
people convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent crime
anyone subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse
anyone of unsound mind
minors, with a few exceptions
drug addicts or “habitual drunkards,” or
anyone who intends to do bodily harm on the premises of a public school.
(Ala. Code § 13A-11-72.)
The following are some of the rules which govern when you may not carry a gun in Alabama:
You may not openly carry a pistol in a vehicle unless you have a permit. Nor may you carry a concealed pistol without a permit, unless you are on your own land, in your own home, or at your fixed place of business. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-73, 13A-11-75) See the statutes for some exceptions.
You may not carry a pistol on or near your body on private property that does not belong to you or that is not under your control unless you have a permit or consent of the property owner. This law does not apply to law enforcement officers in the lawful discharge of their duties, or the following individuals while on the job: rural free delivery mail carriers, bonded constables, conductors, railway mail clerks, and express messengers. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-52.)
You can’t carry a gun in a facility hosting certain athletic events not related to guns unless you have a permit or have express permission from someone with authority over the premises. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2.)
Even if you have a permit, you ou may not carry a firearm into a police, sheriff, or highway patrol station; courthouse, criminal justice building, or building in which a county commission or city council is having a meeting; prison, jail, or other detention facility; or mental health facility, without the express permission of someone with authority over the premises. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-61.2)
You may not possess a firearm while participating in or attending a public demonstration. Nor may you possess a firearm on your person or in a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a demonstration, after being advised by a law enforcement officer that a demonstration is taking place and that you must leave the area until you no longer possess the firearm. This does not apply to firearms kept in homes or other private structures. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-59.)
You may not carry a rifle or shotgun walking cane. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-54.)
You may not possess a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun. This does not apply to peace officers carrying out their official duties. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-63.)
You may not carry a firearm within any wildlife management area, except while in possession of a valid permit allowing this privilege. This does not apply to authorized law enforcement officers or officers of the United States forest service, the United States Bureau of Biological Survey, or of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources while carrying out their official duties. (Ala. Code § 9-11-304.)
Additionally, you may not possess brass or steel Teflon-coated ammunition (which is designed to penetrate a bullet proof vest) under any circumstances. Any person found to be in possession of this kind of ammunition during the commission or attempted commission of a felony using a handgun is subject to an additional sentence of three years. (Ala. Code § 13A-11-60.)
In Alabama, most gun carry violations are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $6,000. (Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-84, 13A-5-7, 13A-5-12) However, there are a few notable exceptions:
People who have committed or attempted to commit a violent crime. If you have been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent crime and you are caught in possession of a gun (a Class C felony), you may be sentenced to as many as ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. (Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-72(a), 13A-11-84, 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11.)
Anyone giving false information in order to obtain a pistol. If you provide false information or a false identity in order to obtain or register a pistol, which is a Class C felony, you may be sentenced to as many as ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. (Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-81, 13A-11-84, 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11.)
Anyone illegally possessing a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun. Violations of this law constitute a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 (Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-63, 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11.)
Anyone possessing a deadly weapon with the intent to do bodily harm on the premises of a public school. Violations of this law constitute a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,00 (Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-72, 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11.)
The penalties for violating gun carry laws are 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 June 26, 2018