The Alabama Gun Act
The Alabama Gun act is now a year old and we continue to receive questions about it. I will reprint an article I did last July in an attempt to help the public with this law.
The Alabama Gun Act of 2013, formally known as SB 286 and Act 2013-283, was signed into law by Governor Bentley on May 21, 2013. It came into effect on AUGUST 1, 2013. This bill was a compromise between the NRA, the legislature, Alabama Sheriff’s Association, the District Attorney’s Association and other law enforcement entities. The first version was a very dangerous bill, not only for law enforcement but for the citizens of Alabama. This is generally a much safer bill that protects a person’s right to bear and keep arms and at the same time protects the general public to a great extent. I will attempt to go over this bill without giving legal advice, but trying to inform the public of this bills’ content.
13A-11-52 states: Except as otherwise provided in this article, no person shall carry a pistol about his person on private property NOT his own or under his control UNLESS the person has the consent of the owner or legal possessor of the premises. It exempts law enforcement and other such entities from this article. Basically it says that you CANNOT carry a pistol, concealed, or not, on other people’s property without their permission so don’t try to carry your gun into a businesses without their permission.
13A11-70 defines a pistol as any firearm with a barrel that is less than 12 inches in length which is self explanatory. It also defines a crime of violence and a “person”.
(a) Except on land under his or her control or in his or her own abode or his or her own fixed place of business,
no person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person, without a permit.
(b) Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a person legally permitted to possess a pistol, but who does not
possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may possess an UNLOADED pistol in his or her motor vehicle if the
pistol is LOCKED in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the vehicle and out of reach
of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.
This basically says that to carry concealed or in your vehicle, you need a permit. If you have no permit, you need to unload your gun and lock it in a secured container in your trunk, or, if in a truck, you will need some type of secured and locked container such as a locking tool box.
13A-11-75 deals with the pistol permit process. The Sheriff of a county, upon the application of any person RESIDING in that county, within 30 days from receipt of a complete application and a accompanying fee, SHALL issue or renew a permit for such person to carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person within this state for one to five year increments, as requested by the person seeking the permit, from the date of issue, unless the Sheriff determines that the person is prohibited from the possession of a pistol or firearm pursuant to state OR federal law, or has a reasonable suspicion that the person may use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner that would endanger the person’s self or others. The Sheriff SHALL provide a written statement of the reasons for a denial of a permit and the evidence upon which it is based must be disclosed to the applicant, unless disclosure would interfere with a criminal investigation.
This section authorizes the Sheriff to revoke a permit issued for any reason that could lead to a denial of a permit under that subdivision. The Sheriff SHALL provide a written statement of reasons for the revocation of a permit.
A person whose permit is denied or revoked may appeal, within 30 days of notification to the district court of the county where the denial or revocation was issued. The district court shall review the appeal and issue a determination providing the reasons for the determination within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a Sheriff to disregard any federal law or regulation pertaining to the purchase or possession of a firearm.
To obtain a pistol permit in Montgomery County, you must reside in this county, you must truthfully and honestly fill out an application with all of the information requested and be legally permitted under STATE and FEDERAL law to possess a firearm. You will be notified within 30 days if your permit has been approved or denied after checking all available data bases. In the past it has taken about 2 weeks so hopefully you will be advised about your application earlier than the law requires. If you are denied or revoked, you have 30 days after you are notified to appeal to District Court and the District Court judge will then have 30 days to issue his decision.
Don’t forget to specify the length of time, 1-5 years that you would like for your permit issued. The cost is the same, $20 a year, for each year that you request.
If you are a business owner, you need to be aware of section 4 of this bill. Subsection (a) states that except as provided in subsection (b), a public or private employer may restrict or prohibit its employees, including those with a permit issued or recognized under Section 13A-11-75, Code of Alabama 1975, from carrying firearms while on the employer’s property or while engaged in the duties of the person’s employment. (b). A public or private employer may not restrict or prohibit the transportation or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee’s privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area if the employee has a valid concealed weapon permit or if the weapon is any firearm legal for use for hunting in Alabama other than a pistol and the employee possesses a valid Alabama hunting license; the weapon is unloaded at all times on the property; it is during a season in which hunting is permitted by Alabama law or regulation; the employee is legally permitted to possess a firearm; the employee has no documented prior workplace incidents involving the threat of physical injury or which resulted in physical injury.
The motor vehicle must be operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be. If the employee is in the vehicle, the weapon must be kept from ordinary observation within the person’s motor vehicle. If the vehicle is unattended by the employee, the weapon must be kept from ordinary observation and locked within a compartment, container, or in the interior of the person’s privately owned motor vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.
I strongly recommend that a business owner or employer read Act 2013-283 to understand what they can and cannot do under this law. The Auburn Cooperative Extension service has put out an excellent video for employers and can be found on their website, WAKA has a link to it and our website will have a link to it. An employer can be held legally responsible for some actions and has immunity for other actions concerning weapons in employee’s vehicles in the parking lot.
Section 6 says that in addition to any other place limited by state or federal law, a person, including a person with a permit may not knowingly possess or carry a firearm in the building of a police, sheriff or highway patrol station; inside or on the premises of a prison, jail, halfway house, community corrections facility, or other detention facility for those who have been charged with or convicted of a criminal or juvenile offense; inside or on the premises of a facility which provides inpatient or custodial care of those with psychiatric, mental, or emotional disorders; inside a courthouse, courthouse annex, a building in which a District Attorney’s office is located, or a building in which a county commission or city council is currently having a regularly scheduled or specially called meeting, inside any facility hosting an athletic event not related to or involving firearms which is sponsored by a private or public elementary or secondary school or any private or public institution or postsecondary education, unless the person has a permit; inside any facility hosting a professional athletic event not related to or involving firearms, unless the person has a permit.
A person, including a person with a permit, may not, without the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises, knowingly possess or carry a firearm inside any building or facility to which access of unauthorized persons and prohibited articles is limited during normal hours of operation by the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features, including, but not limited to, magnetometers, key cards, biometric screening devices, or turnstiles or other physical barriers.
The person or entity with authority over the premises just listed shall place a notice at the public entrances of such premises or buildings alerting those entering that firearms are prohibited.
This is a comprehensive bill and should be read and understood by every person who is carrying or who is planning to carry a firearm. It is an individual’s responsibility to know and obey the law.