With the new law HB 272 going into effect on January 1st, 2023, you no longer need a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon. Of course, as with any law, there are loopholes and stipulations and are rarely as simple as they seem. In this blog we will break down the 30-page new law and what it means to you.
Back in March of last year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law HB 272, known as the Constitutional Carry Bill. HB 272 is a new law that changes the way the State of Alabama allows persons to carry concealed weapons. Previously, you would need to go to your local Sheriff’s Office and apply for a concealed weapon permit. With the new law HB 272 going into effect on January 1st, 2023, you no longer need a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon. Of course, as with any law, there are loopholes and stipulations and are rarely as simple as they seem. In this blog we will break down the 30-page new law and what it means to you.
As stated above, HB 272 removes the requirement of having to have a concealed weapons permit issued by your Sheriff’s office. Now Alabama has already been an open and carry state. That means, even before this new law went into effect, you could visibly carry a firearm on your person. You just had to have a permit to carry a loaded weapon in your vehicle, purse or hidden on your person, like inside of a jacket. Furthermore, without the permit to carry a concealed weapon, the previous law required individuals to disarm themselves while in their vehicle. This meant you were not allowed to have a loaded firearm in your vehicle, and it had to be locked in a compartment. HB 272 allows you to carry a loaded a firearm in your vehicle, not locked in a compartment or portable safe.
Certain Restrictions Still Apply
Now that you no longer must have that permit to carry a loaded weapon hidden on your person, that doesn’t mean you can go just anywhere with a loaded firearm. Certain restrictions still apply. Such as:
- Any location prohibited by state or federal law
- Inside the building of a police, sheriff, 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 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 or the primary office of any elected official
- Inside a facility which that provides inpatient or custodial care of those with psychiatric, mental, or emotional disorders, such as a Hospital, Rehabilitation Facility, Nursing Home or other healthcare facilities.
- Any Sporting or Athletic Event: Youth, Highschool, Collegiate or Professional.
- Inside any facility hosting an athletic event which is sponsored by a private or public elementary or secondary school or any private or public institution of postsecondary education.
- Inside any facility hosting a professional athletic event.
Violation of this can result in you being charged with a Class C Misdemeanor.
Also, laws still apply to those who have been charged and convicted with certain crimes that do not allow them to own or carry firearms.
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What about my place of business or place of Employment?
Any public or privately owned business or service can still request that firearms not be allowed inside their place of business. This relates to not only customers or patrons, but also employees. However, HB 272 does give a stipulation that employees and customers or patrons may be allowed to keep a firearm locked and concealed in their vehicle in the parking lot of the place of business. But even with this new allowance, stipulations apply, specifically to employees. For example, an employer can bar you from having a firearm in your vehicle in the parking lot if you have a history of threatening behavior or violence in the workplace.
Under this New Law – Can Law Enforcement Take my Firearm?
As of right now, yes. There are currently some talks taking place that may add revisions to the existing law. But as the law is currently written, your firearm could be confiscated by law enforcement during a traffic stop or during any other contact with law enforcement where they deem you potentially unsafe to yourself, others around you, mentally unstable, in the act of committing a crime or about to commit a crime.
Criminal Statewide Weapons Database
Along with this bill was the creation of a new statewide database that determines whether a person has been prohibited for owning or carrying a firearm. This statewide database is easily searchable and allows law enforcement to confiscate weapons from those who have been prohibited from owning and carrying them.
Furthermore, this database has the capabilities of law enforcement keying in the serial number of the firearm and determining whether the firearm has been stolen.
Proponents of this new database claim that this will assist law enforcement in getting illegally owned weapons off the street.
Why You Still May Want to Get a Concealed Weapons Permit
You may no longer need a concealed weapons permit in Alabama, but your Sheriff’s office is still offering them to the public, if you qualify. You may be asking yourself, why you would still need one? If you plan on traveling out of state with your loaded firearm, many states still require you to have a legally issued concealed weapons permit. With out one, you could be arrested and charged in that state under their laws and regulations.
This is extremely important to remember. In general, unless the laws are Federal, laws may not apply state to state. Just because it is legal in one state, does not mean it is legal in another. Your ignorance of that state law is of no consequence to law enforcement. You will be prosecuted just the same as if you were a resident. So – it is best to, at the very least, research the firearm carry laws for the state you are planning to travel to.
You may also want a concealed weapons permit as another form of Official Identification.
For more information or to the read HB272 in its entirety click here.