Summary of Alabama Gun Laws
Alabama is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the county level by the local sheriff’s office.
There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.
Alabama allows open carry without a permit. Any person who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm can open carry. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses.
Concealed carry is legal for residents with an Alabama Pistol Permit and for non-residents with a permit from a state that Alabama honors. Alabama does not require the applicant to complete a firearms safety course or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety prior to issuance of a pistol permit. Only residents that are at least 18 years old may obtain Alabama pistol permits. However, the county sheriff may issue a permit to active-duty military stationed in Alabama and their spouses. Active duty military veterans that meet the qualifications can obtain or renew their pistol permits free of charge. In terms of reciprocity, Alabama honors all out-of-state concealed carry permits.
Alabama is a Castle Doctrine state. Per Alabama gun laws you do not have a duty to retreat and are allowed to stand your ground, provided you are in a place where you have a right to be and you are not engaged in an unlawful activity.
Use of Force in Defense of Self or Another
A person is justified in using physical force in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose.
There are several circumstances in which the law allows a person to use deadly force for self-defense purposes, including:
- When a person reasonably believes that another is about to use unlawful deadly force;
- When an occupant of a dwelling reasonably believes that a burglar is about to use physical force;
- When another attempts to forcibly or unlawfully enter a person’s dwelling, residence, business property or occupied vehicle, or attempts to remove a person who has a legal right to be there from such in order to occupy it;
- When a person is attempting to thwart another who is engaged in the act of rape, sodomy, kidnapping, assault or robbery; or
- When an owner, employee or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public encounters a person committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.
Use of Force in Defense of Premises
A person in lawful possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be there, may use physical force when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person.
A person may use deadly physical force in defense of property only when the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the commission of arson in the first or second degree by the trespasser.
Use of Force in Defense of Property Other than Premises
A person is justified in using physical force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission by the other person of theft or criminal mischief with respect to property other than premises.
- “Dwelling” means building which is usually occupied by a person lodging therein at night or a building of any kind, including any attached balcony, whether the building is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
- “Building” is any structure which may be entered and utilized by persons for business, public use, lodging or the storage of goods, and includes any vehicle, aircraft or watercraft used for the lodging of persons or carrying on business therein. Each unit of a building consisting of two or more units separately occupied or secured is a separate building.
- “Premises” includes any building and any real property.
- “Residence” is a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
- “Vehicle” is a motorized conveyance which is designed to transport people or property.
Civil and Criminal Immunity
A person who uses force, including deadly physical force, as justified and permitted in this section is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the force was determined to be unlawful.
[Ala. Code §§ 13A-3-20, 13A-3-23, 13A-3-25 & 13A-3-26]