Alabama gun owners are proud to avail themselves of their federal Second Amendment rights, as well as those spelled out in the Constitution of Alabama.
But anyone who possesses a gun in the state needs to be informed of both their rights and responsibilities under state law. He or she must also understand that while there are certain instances in which possession of a firearm alone could be a crime - depending on the person, the type of weapon or the location of that weapon -- most firearm offenses involve improper or irresponsible use.
Other crimes committed with the use of a gun are almost always going to have enhanced penalties, when compared to what the sentence might have been had the crime been committed without a gun. It could even mean the difference between a crime being charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
In many cases, your intention could matter as much as the actual outcome. Proving or disproving one's intentions in a criminal firearms-related matter is a tough task, best left to an experienced Alabama defense attorney.
The stakes can be high, with the most severe penalties including either life in prison or even the death sentence.
Alabama weapons laws are found in Alabama Code 13A, Chapter 11, Article 3.
It's unlawful in Alabama to sell, give, deliver or lend a handgun to anyone who is under the age of 18 or to a person whom the seller has reasonable cause to believe has been convicted of a violent crime, is a drug addict or alcoholic or who is of unsound mind. Dealers must be licensed, though private sales are permitted.
In order to possess a concealed weapon, Section 13A-11-50 requires that a person have a state permit. Absent this, a person can be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a sentence of up to six months in jail. One possible defense to this would be to provide evidence that he or she had good reason. This could be considered a mitigating factor for sentencing purposes or sometimes even a complete justification.
Even having a license to conceal carry does not authorize you to carry your gun into the following places:
- A police, sheriff or highway patrol building;
- A prison, jail, halfway house or community corrections facility;
- Inside a courthouse or building where the District Attorney's office is located;
- Into an inpatient psychiatric or mental hospital;
- A building in which city council or county commission meetings are held;
- Athletic events at schools;
- Any professional athletic event;
- Any location barred under federal law.
The only type of gun that is expressly prohibited by state law is a shotgun or rifle fashioned to look like a walking cane. Possession of a weapon like this could result in a prison sentence of up to 2 years and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you use your firearm while fighting in a public place – except in cases of self-defense – you will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. That's assuming no one was actually hurt.
If you fire into a dwelling, vehicle or school – even if said place is unoccupied – you face a potential Class B felony, which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
Also, anytime you commit a felony offense or a crime of violence with a firearm, you can expect to be facing a greater amount of time in prison.
Alabama is perhaps one of the most permissive states in terms of gun rights. However, prosecutors will come down hard on those who commit crime with firearms.
If you are facing gun-related charges in Alabama, contact our offices today.