What are Your Rights Under Alabama Home Gun Laws?
If you’re a citizen of Alabama, the state Constitution outlines your right to bear arms to protect yourself from harm. Under the Alabama State Constitution, it is legal to sell or buy a handgun or a long gun privately, and you do not have to undergo a background check. But, it is considered unlawful to sell a gun to a “prohibited” person. Knowing your firearm rights to protect yourself and your home can be confusing. If you’re interested in purchasing a gun or want to sell one of your weapons, then it’s critical to know what’s legal and what isn’t.
Who is considered a prohibited person under Alabama gun laws?
According to Alabama state gun laws, the following people are prohibited from buying and owning a firearm. You also cannot sell to these prohibited persons:
● A person who has a conviction of a violent crime, or a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence.
● Someone who has a current protection from abuse order out against them.
● A person of “unsound” mind.
● Anyone who is under 18 cannot legally purchase or possess a firearm.
● The law also prohibits sales of guns to “habitual drunkards.”
If a person was convicted of a violent crime as a juvenile, Alabama has no law against people sentenced as juveniles from owning a firearm.
Are you required to get a permit or license to carry-conceal a firearm in Alabama?
Yes, Alabama is a shall-issue state for carry-conceal. Shall-issue means that a person must get a license to carry a concealed handgun. However, the person issuing a carry-conceal permit (in Alabama it’s the sheriff) doesn’t have discretionary authority to grant the license.
Anyone who applies meets the requirements, and isn’t a prohibited person under Alabama law can get a carry-conceal permit. Likewise, the applicant does not have to demonstrate “good cause.”
If the applicant meets all of the criteria required by Alabama state gun law, the issuing authority must grant the license. In contrast, other states give the issuing authority permission to deny a license based on their discretion.
What are the requirements for getting a carry-conceal permit in Alabama?
● Proof of residency (no permits are issued for out-of-state residents)
● Applicants must be at least 18 years old
● Applicant must submit fingerprints
● The applicant must pass either an instant computer background check or a manual background check.
● All applicants must attend and complete a certified safety firearm or handgun class
● Applicants must pass a test certifying their ability to handle a handgun safely
● Pay a fee
These requirements can vary based on jurisdiction.
Does Alabama have “stand your ground” laws?
In Alabama, you have the right to use force against another person to defend either yourself or a third party if you reasonably believe you’re in danger. The law allows you to use reasonable force against the threat. For example, if someone is about to use potentially deadly physical force against you, you are legally permitted to use deadly physical force against them as a form of self-defense. These laws are sometimes used interchangeably with the “castle doctrine,” which means you are legally allowed to defend your home from a break-in.
Do you have to attempt to retreat first before using physical force to defend yourself?
No, that’s the point of stand your ground laws. Since the law went into effect in 2006, the state of Alabama does not require that you attempt to retreat or run away from harm. If you’re in a place where you have a right to be, like your home, and you are not engaged in criminal activity, then you can defend yourself with a firearm or other use of deadly force.
What situations are not protected under Alabama's stand your ground laws?
The person who defends themselves or a third party with deadly force must not be the original aggressor. Also, people cannot use the stand your ground law against a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the line of duty. A person who is committing unlawful or illegal activity is also not entitled to rights under the stand your ground law.
When is using the stand your ground law justified?
You can only use physical, deadly force under the stand your ground law for certain situations.
● A person is breaking into your home or your vehicle while you or a third party are inside.
● Someone is attempting to rob, assault, kidnap, or rape you or a third party.
● A person is attempting to remove you or a third party from your home or your car against your will.
If you’re ever in a situation where you have to use the stand your ground or the castle doctrine, that’s not the end of it. You will still have to prove that you were justified in using deadly physical force. Although Alabama’s stand your ground home gun laws are designed to keep people safe in their own homes, these laws are not a panacea. In some cases, it might be more beneficial for homeowners to use a security service if they are afraid of break-ins and robberies.