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Sheriffs working on a fix to ATF’s rejection of Alabama concealed carry permit


On Wednesday, Federal Firearm Licensees (FFL’s) began receiving phone calls and letters from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms instructing them that they could no longer accept Alabama Concealed Carry Permits (CCPs) issued by Alabama’s Sheriffs as an alternative to completion of a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check or after a NICS denial.

Monday, the Alabama Sheriff’s Association announced in a statement that “A procedure is presently underway to correct this error and restore acceptance of Alabama CCPs as an alternative for the citizens of Alabama and the FFLs.

The Alabama Political Reporter discussed the situation over the phone with Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Bobby Timmons.

Timmons said that he did not know how many of Alabama’s 67 Sheriffs Departments were not in compliance with the NICS requirement; but guessed that it was “two or four.”

Timmons said that there will be a meeting today between the sheriffs, the Sheriff’s Association, and two representatives from the ATF office in Tennessee to discuss the situation and how to resolve it. Timmons vowed to get to the bottom of the issue in today’s meeting and would know more after today’s meeting.

The ATF letter indicated that some prohibited persons had been given Alabama CCPs.

Timmons rejected media reports claiming that felons had been sold CCPs by their sheriff..

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Timmons said that that did not happen, “To my knowledge.”

Friday, the Alabama Sheriffs Association released a statement: “The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(BOJ/ATF) under the Enforcement Programs and Services released a Public Safety Advisory dated July 22, 2019, to all Alabama Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL’s) stating, based on recent information received from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Justice Information Service Division Audit Unit, and upon results of inspections conducted by ATF Field Offices, ATF has determined that, notwithstanding the express requirements of Ala. Code §13A-11-75, Alabama Concealed Carry Permits (CCP) have been and continue to be issued to individuals without completion of a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check or after a NICS denial.”

The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act (Brady Act) requires that FFLs initiate a NICS check before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person. For several years, the ATF allowed this requirement to be waived if the applicant has a valid Alabama CCP. Since the FBI is reporting that some Alabama sheriffs have not required the NICS to issue their CCP, the DOJ/ATF has revoked Alabama CCP holders ability to buy a firearm without waiting for the NICS at the store.

APR talked with St. Clair County Sheriff Billy Murray (R).

Sheriff Murray said that his office has been running NICS checks for all CCPs for years.

If you have a permit from us, then you were NICS cleared, Murray told APR. “All of our staff are NICS trained.”

It is a federal crime for a felon to even possess a firearm.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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