Wednesday, State Senator Randy Price (R-Opelika) and State Representative Proncey Robertson (R-Mt. Hope) pre-filed a bill that would establish a cohesive and statewide management level process for administering and managing concealed weapons permits in the state of Alabama. The National Rifle Association has endorsed this legislation.
“As retired police officer I know firsthand what law enforcement officials face on a daily basis.” Rep. Robertson said. “The more information that can be provided is best for all parties. The concealed weapons permit process is a valuable tool to help citizens and law enforcement work together to protect our communities. I am a strong advocate for our 2nd Amendment rights and this will ease the current burden being placed on our law-abiding citizens and put more pressure on those who are “Firearms Prohibited” to follow the law. It will create a standard and transparency in our state.”
“I am for protecting our gun rights while demanding accountability,” Sen. Price said. “Every day our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect and serve our cities, counties, and communities. This bill will offer additional safety and information for them to more effectively do their job. As a responsible gun owner, I believe having this new information and a reliable concealed weapons permit process supports the safety both of our citizens and law enforcement without infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights.”
“The NRA strongly supports this streamlined permitting process,” said NRA Alabama State Director Art Thomm. “Not only would it bring much-needed 21st century technology to Alabama’s antiquated system, but it would be the first time law-abiding Alabamians were given the option for a lifetime concealed carry permit.”
Currently, the application process and managing of applicants is different county by county. Some rural county sheriffs have issued concealed carry permits, sometimes called pistol permits, without doing background checks. This resulted last year in federal authorities revoking Alabama concealed carry permit holders from being able to buy firearms without having to go through the background check system. Concealed carry permit holders in most states simply have to present their current permit at the point of sale. This has also raised questions about whether or not other states can honor the reciprocity agreement with Alabama. Most Sheriffs departments, including St. Clair County, do perform the background checks before issuing concealed carry permits.
This legislation would create a streamlined process of standards for Sheriff Departments to implement and will be monitored by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). This bill creates a cohesive standard for background checks and will bring 21st century technology to Sheriff’s departments and all other law enforcement agencies across the state. Sheriff departments will now have access to electronic information of which all levels of law enforcement will have access to. It will also require municipalities to start reporting those that are convicted of domestic violence as well as Probate Judges to begin reporting individuals that have been involuntary committed. Applicants will also now have the option to apply for a concealed weapons permit for one year, five years or a lifetime permit.
In the State of Alabama, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapons without a permit.
State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) has introduced legislation that would allow all Alabama citizens who have not had their gun rights revoked to carry firearms concealed without having to have a concealed carry permit. That legislation could not get out of committee in the Senate last year.
It is currently legal in Alabama to openly carry firearms without a permit, if your gun rights have not been taken away. A citizen can lose their gun rights due to a felony conviction, being declared mentally unfit by a probate judge, or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. While every citizen, who still has gun rights, may openly carry without a concealed carry permit; it is against the law to have a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a concealed carry permit. Handguns must be unloaded and locked in a box or trunk out of reach. Similarly, if a person is openly carrying a handgun on their side, were to put a jacket on so that the gun was no longer visible that would also be a misdemeanor as they are now carrying concealed, unless they have a valid concealed carry permit allowing them to conceal their handgun. Persons with a concealed carry permit are allowed to have their gun on their person while riding in a motor vehicle or within reach like in the glove box, loaded or not. This does not apply to long guns (rifles and shotguns). All Alabama citizens, who still have their gun rights, may carry their shotgun or rifle with them in their vehicle, without having to obtain a concealed carry permit to exercise that right.
To get your concealed carry permit you must go to the sheriff’s department in your home county. The fee varies from county to county.
Twenty percent of adult Alabamians have a concealed carry permit, the highest rate in the country.