Alabama has a large number of crimes specifically related to the possession of firearms, as well as a large number of criminal offenses in which the possession of a firearm leads to enhanced sentences. In addition, a conviction for a criminal offense and, even the accusation of a criminal offense can affect one's rights to possess or carry firearms.
Crimes specifically relating to possession of a firearm
Carrying a Pistol without a Permit
Alabama law generally prohibits a person from carrying a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on their person without a permit. The relevant law on this issue is contained in section 13A – 11 – 73 of the Code of Alabama:
Permit to carry a pistol in vehicle or concealed on person - Required; possession of an unloaded pistol in the motor vehicle.
(a) Except on land under his or her control or in his or her own abode or his or her own fixed place of business, no person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person without a permit issued under Section 13A-11-75(a)(1) or recognized under Section 13A-11-85.
(b) Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a person legally permitted to possess a pistol, but who does not possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may possess an unloaded pistol in his or her motor vehicle if the pistol is locked in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the vehicle and out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle.
Felon in Possession of a Firearm or Any Ammunition
A convicted felon could find himself serving many years in state prison for possession of a firearm poor could find himself in federal prison for the possession of a firearm or even so much as a single 22 caliber bullet. The District Attorney's Office, as well as the US attorney's office, actively prosecute felons who are in possession of firearms or ammunition.
If you are convicted of a felony, you no longer will be allowed to possess a firearm or even possess a single bullet.
Federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms and ammunition. Possession of something as small as a single 22 caliber could result in years of incarceration for a convicted felon.
You should be aware federal law is more restrictive on this issue than the state of Alabama. Even if a convicted felon is "allowed" possession under Alabama law, they still cannot possess a firearm under federal law. While there are a few very narrow exceptions, a felony conviction means you no can no longer own firearms or ammunition. This means a convicted felon cannot have access to weapons or ammunition. If a convicted felon lives with their spouse or a significant other, that person will need to remove all guns and ammunition from the residence o make sure that any firearms and ammunition are absolutely inaccessible to the convicted felon under any circumstances. A convicted felon to not have access to any firearms or ammunition or do anything by which they could be found to be in direct or constructive possession of a firearm.
Alabama law prohibits the possession of a firearm by violent felons, drug addicts, drunkards and individuals who have been convicted of a domestic violence crime or were deemed of unsound mind. The relevant portion of this law is contained in section 13A – 11 – 72(a) of the Alabama code which is reproduced here:
No person who has been convicted in this state or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, violent offense as listed in [Aabama code]Section 12-25-32(15), anyone who is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse, or anyone of unsound mind shall own a firearm or have one in his or her possession or under his or her control.
Section12-25-32(15) of the Alabama code defines a violent offender as follows:
VIOLENT OFFENDER. A violent offender is an offender who has been convicted of a violent offense, or who is determined by the trial court judge or a release authority to have demonstrated a propensity for violence, aggression, or weapons-related behavior based on the criminal history or behavior of the offender while under supervision of any criminal justice system agency or entity.
This code section also lists "violent" criminal offenses and is reproduced here:
For the purposes of this article, a violent offense includes each of the following offenses, or any substantially similar offense to those listed in this subdivision created after June 20, 2003:
1. Capital murder pursuant to Sections 13A-6-2 and 13A-5-40.
2. Murder pursuant to Section 13A-6-2.
3. Manslaughter pursuant to Section 13A-6-3.
4. Criminally negligent homicide pursuant to Section 13A-6-4.
5. Assault I pursuant to Section 13A-6-20.
6. Assault II pursuant to Section 13A-6-21.
7. Compelling street gang membership pursuant to Section 13A-6-26.
8. Kidnapping I pursuant to Section 13A-6-43.
9. Kidnapping II pursuant to Section 13A-6-44.
10. Rape I pursuant to Section 13A-6-61.
11. Rape II pursuant to Section 13A-6-62.
12. Sodomy I pursuant to Section 13A-6-63.
13. Sodomy II pursuant to Section 13A-6-64.
14. Sexual torture pursuant to Section 13A-6-65.l.
15. Sexual abuse I pursuant to Section 13A-6-66.
16. Enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes pursuant to Section 13A-6-69.
17. Stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-90.
18. Aggravated stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-91.
19. Soliciting a child by computer pursuant to Section 13A-6-110.
20. Domestic violence I pursuant to Section 13A-6-130.
21. Domestic violence II pursuant to Section 13A-6-131.
22. Burglary I pursuant to Section 13A-7-5.
23. Burglary II pursuant to Section 13A-7-6.
24. Burglary III pursuant to subdivision (1) or subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of Section 13A-7-7.
25. Arson I pursuant to Section 13A-7-41.
26. Criminal possession of explosives pursuant to Section 13A-7-44.
27. Extortion I pursuant to Section 13A-8-14.
28. Robbery I pursuant to Section 13A-8-41.
29. Robbery II pursuant to Section 13A-8-42.
30. Robbery III pursuant to Section 13A-8-43.
31. Pharmacy robbery pursuant to Section 13A-8-51.
32. Terrorist threats pursuant to Section 13A-10-15.
33. Escape I pursuant to Section 13A-10-31.
34. Promoting prison contraband I pursuant to Section 13A-10-36, involving a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
35. Intimidating a witness pursuant to Section 13A-10-123.
36. Intimidating a juror pursuant to Section 13A-10-127.
37. Treason pursuant to Section 13A-11-2.
38. Discharging a weapon into an occupied building, dwelling, automobile, etc., pursuant to Section 13A-11-61.
39. Promoting prostitution I pursuant to Section 13A-12-111.
40. Production of obscene matter involving a minor pursuant to Section 13A-12-197.
41. Trafficking pursuant to Section 13A-12-231.
42. Child abuse pursuant to Section 26-15-3.
43. Elder abuse pursuant to Section 38-9-7.
44. Terrorism pursuant to Section 13A-10-152.
45. Hindering prosecution for terrorism pursuant to Section 13A-10-154.
46. Domestic violence III pursuant to subsection (d) of Section 13A-6-132.
47. Domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation pursuant to Section 13A-6-138.
48. Human trafficking I pursuant to Section 13A-6-152.
49. Human trafficking II pursuant to Section 13A-6-153.
50. Hindering prosecution in the first degree pursuant to Section 13A-10-43.
51. Any substantially similar offense for which an Alabama offender has been convicted under prior Alabama law or the law of any other state, the District of Columbia, the United States, or any of the territories of the United States.
b. The basis for defining these offenses as violent is that each offense meets at least one of the following criteria:
1. Has as an element, the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or physical force against the person of another.
2. Involves a substantial risk of physical injury against the person of another.
3. Is a nonconsensual sex offense.
4. Is particularly reprehensible.
c. Any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a violent offense shall be considered a violent offense for the purposes of this article.
d. Any criminal offense which meets the criteria provided in paragraph b. enacted after 2003.
(Act 2003-354, p. 948, §3; Act 2009-742, p. 2220, §1; Act 2012-473, p. 1304, §1; Act 2014-346, p. 1289, §1(b)(3); Act 2015-185, §1.)
Committing a Crime When Armed; Evidence of Intent
Alabama Code Section 13A-11-71 states that if a person commits one crime and they are armed with a pistol then, in addition to the crime that they have committed. They can be charged with an additional crime relating to the possession of the pistol:
If any person shall commit or attempt to commit a crime of violence when armed with a pistol, he may, in addition to the punishment provided for the crime, be punished also as provided by this division. In the trial of a person for committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, the fact that he was armed with a pistol and had no license to carry the same shall be prima facie evidence of his intention to commit the said crime of violence.
Delivering a pistol to minors, violent felons, drug addicts, drunkards, and others
Alabama has restrictions on the delivering of a pistol to certain people. A pistol cannot be delivered to a minor to a drug addict to a habitual drunkard, or anyone who has been convicted of either committing a crime of violence or attempting to commit a crime of violence or any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The law also prohibits the delivery of a pistol to anyone who is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse for anybody who is of unsound mind.
The relevant law on this issue is contained in Alabama Code Section 13A-11-76:
Delivery to minors, habitual drunkards, etc.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), no person shall deliver a pistol to any person who he or she has reasonable cause to believe is a minor, except under the circumstances provided in Section 13A-11-72, a drug addict, or a habitual drunkard, has been convicted in this state or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence, misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, a violent offense as listed in Section 12-25-32(15), or anyone who is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse, or anyone of unsound mind.
(b) A person may deliver a pistol to a person otherwise prohibited from receiving a pistol under subsection (a), if the person has had his or her firearm rights restored by operation of law or legal process.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the terms "convicted," "misdemeanor offense of domestic violence," "valid protection order," and "unsound mind" shall have the same meanings as provided in Section 13A-11-72.
Restrictions on firearms by employers
Alabama law contains general provisions allowing an employer to prohibit employees (including those with valid pistol permits, from carrying firearms while on the employer's property or engaged in duties for that person's employment. There are certain exceptions to this law. This law is contained in section 13A-11-90 of the Alabama code. This particular lot is rather long but, for your benefit, it is reproduced in full here:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a public or private employer may restrict or prohibit its employees, including those with a permit issued or recognized under Section 13A-11-75, from carrying firearms while on the employer's property or while engaged in the duties of the person's employment.
(b) A public or private employer may not restrict or prohibit the transportation or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee's privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area if the employee satisfies all of the following:
(1) The employee either:
a. Has a valid concealed weapon permit; or
b. If the weapon is any firearm legal for use for hunting in Alabama other than a pistol:
i. The employee possesses a valid Alabama hunting license;
ii. The weapon is unloaded at all times on the property;
iii. It is during a season in which hunting is permitted by Alabama law or regulation;
iv. The employee has never been convicted of any crime of violence as that term is defined in Section 13A-11-70, nor of any crime set forth in Chapter 6 of Title 13A, nor is subject to a Domestic Violence Order, as that term is defined in Section 13A-6-141;
v. The employee does not meet any of the factors set forth in Section 13A-11-75(a)(1)a.1-8; and
vi. The employee has no documented prior workplace incidents involving the threat of physical injury or which resulted in physical injury.
(2) The motor vehicle is operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.
(3) The firearm is either of the following:
a. In a motor vehicle attended by the employee, kept from ordinary observation within the person's motor vehicle.
b. In a motor vehicle unattended by the employee, kept from ordinary observation and locked within a compartment, container, or in the interior of the person's privately owned motor vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.
(c) If an employer believes that an employee presents a risk of harm to himself/herself or to others, the employer may inquire as to whether the employee possesses a firearm in his or her private motor vehicle. If the employee does possess a firearm in his or her private motor vehicle on the property of the employer, the employer may make any inquiry necessary to establish that the employee is in compliance with subsection (b).
(1) If the employee is not in compliance with subsection (b), the employer may take adverse employment action against the employee, in the discretion of the employer.
(2) If the employee has been in compliance with subsection (b) at all times, the employer may not take adverse employment action against the employee based solely on the presence of the firearm.
(d) If an employer discovers by other means that an employee is transporting or storing a firearm in his or her private motor vehicle, the employer may not take any adverse employment action against the employee based solely on the possession of that firearm if the employee has complied with the requirements in subsection (b).
(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from reporting to law enforcement a complaint based upon information and belief that there is credible evidence of any of the following:
(1) That the employee's motor vehicle contains:
a. A firearm prohibited by state or federal law.
b. Stolen property or a prohibited or illegal item other than a firearm.
(2) A threat made by an employee to cause bodily harm to themselves or others.
(f) If law enforcement officers, pursuant to a valid search warrant or valid warrantless search based upon probable cause, exigent circumstances, or other lawful exception to the search warrant requirement, discover a firearm prohibited by state or federal law, stolen property, or a prohibited or illegal item other than a firearm, the employer may take adverse employment action against the employee.
(g) However, if the employee has fully complied with the requirements of subsection (b) and does not possess a firearm prohibited by state or federal law, that employee is entitled to recovery as specified in this subsection for any adverse employment action against the employee. If demand for the recovery has not been satisfied within 45 calendar days, the employee may file a civil action in the appropriate court of this state against the public or private employer. A plaintiff is entitled to seek an award of all of the following:
(1) Compensation, if applicable, for lost wages or benefits.
(2) Compensation, if applicable, for other lost remuneration caused by the termination, demotion, or other adverse action.
(h) The license requirements set forth in sections (b)(1)a. and (b)(1)b.i. are for the purposes of this section only in order to determine whether an employee may transport or store a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in an employee's privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area owned by the employer and shall not be construed to otherwise expand the requirements for the lawful possession of a firearm. These requirements shall not be interpreted to mean that the laws of the State of Alabama create any new connection between the possession of a hunting license and the right of a citizen to keep and bear arms.
(i) Prohibitions regarding the carrying of a firearm under this section shall not apply to law enforcement officers engaged in the lawful execution of their official duties.
(j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the transportation, carrying, storing, or possession of a firearm or ammunition where prohibited by federal law.
(Act 2013-283, p. 938, §4.)
Gun crimes involving the use of a firearm
There are a number of crimes involving the use of a firearm that person could find themselves charged within Huntsville, Madison County Alabama.
While hardly exhaustive, here are some of the more common crimes involving the use of firearms:
Firing Into an Occupied Building:
If the structure being fired into is occupied, the crime is a class B felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $30,000
Firing Into an Unoccupied Building:
If a person fires into an unoccupied home, building, railroad car or locomotive, aircraft, automobile, truck or watercraft, it is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Possession of a Short-Barreled Rifle or Shotgun:
If convicted of knowingly possessing a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches long with an overall length less than 26 inches, or a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long with an overall length less than 26 inches, it is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. This includes sawed-off shotguns.
Providing False Information to a Dealer:
Knowingly providing materially false information to a firearms dealer is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.