Freaking out about 'bama laws!
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Thread: Freaking out about 'bama laws!

  1. #1

    Exclamation Freaking out about 'bama laws!

    I've just discovered that I am moving to Perry County, Alabama in a couple of months, from Indiana. I have been reading about Alabama firearm and knife laws and I am totally freaked out.

    Here in Indiana, I have a lifetime carry permit for handguns, open or concealed, and there are no laws about knives of any kind except switchblades.

    In Alabama, it appears, I have to go to the county sheriff EVERY YEAR and beg for a permit. Also, it seems to be completely up to the sheriff whether to issue it or not. And, apparently, I have to have a "need" in order to be issued a permit.

    In addition, it seems that any sort of fixed-blade knife is illegal, as the law says that even kitchen knives qualify under the "Bowie Knife" provision of illegality! I've even found that lock-blade folders may be questionable!

    So, what's going to happen when I tell my local sheriff that my "need" for a permit is called the Second Amendment to the constitution?

    And, how am I going to butcher my first wild hog in the field? With a broken bottle?

    I just don't understand how a state that seems filled with such wonderful people, not to mention vast tracts of hunting and fishing lands, can have laws that sound about as ridiculous as the ones in California.

    Am I reading the law wrong? Is there something I am missing? Maybe even more interesting, what does the sheriff's office get done, other than process firearm permits?

    I am a total newb here, but I would REALLY appreciate ANYBODY who might be able to offer me a little anti-freak medicine, if any exists.



  3. #2

    Cool Alabama Laws

    Archangel: The laws in Alabama are not as messed up as you think. First, when you go to the sheriff's office to obtain your permit all you have to tell them is for personal defense. No long dissertation on gun rights, etc. I have never had any problem getting my permit. I pay my $20.00 and am gone in about 5 minutes. Coming here from out-of-state, you will probably have to fill out a form which the sheriff will run through NCIC and the local police department. Having your Indiana license already will greatly ease the process for you. As for knives, the LEOs will probably get upset seeing you carry a long Bowie knife but no problem carrying a large folding knife on your belt. Quite a number of people carry them down here with no problems. All that being said, carrying is somewhat iffy if you want to open carry. It is completely legal to open carry but some of the LEOs down here get rather upset when they see it. The Montgomery PD had a run-in with a fellow open carrying and, after the smoke cleared, the fellow was given an apology and the MPD given instructions about open carry being legal. If you carry your weapon in your car, it is considered concealed and requires a permit. You can open carry without a permit. Seems a little mixed up but, what the heck. All in all, you won't find Alabama laws to be all that daunting and you won't have trouble finding buddies to shoot with so come on down. Glad to have you.

  4. I'm the next best thing to a native Alabamian. My dad was from here and I was born on an Army base in LA while he was serving. He came home before I was a year old.

    Do NOT freak out over Alabama's concealed carry laws. Yes, it is left up to the local sheriff to set the specific requirements and Yes, you have to renew every year. That is the law and it is still 'may issue'.

    In practice, however, it is normally treated as 'shall issue'. In other words, unless they have a reason to not issue, you get your permit. In most counties, you fill out your paperwork (an application, more or less, it gives them enough information to run a background check on you- no finger prints, proof of taking a class,...), pay around $20 (some a little more, some a little less but still not in the $100's some states charge) and wait about a week. Then you go back to the Sheriff's Dept., pick up your permit and go about your merry way for a year. The next year, you drop by, pay your $20 and get it renewed while you wait. I was in and out a couple weeks ago in Lee county in all of 10 minutes (there was a small line).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Gadsden Al.
    All you have to tell them is you want to carry for your protection, and as far as the knife thing I have carried a Cold Steel Voyager and now carry a Cold Steel AK-47 with no problems.
    Its Better To Have It And Not Need It Than To Need It And Not Have It.

  6. Don't Freak

    Don't freak too much about the Bama laws. It is true we can not open carry.We can get our CCW permits at the Sherrif's office the first time by just telling them it is for personal protection and give them the other info they ask for and they run a computer check that just takes a minute, very easy to get and give them the $20.00 at least in my county. After that all you have to do each year is either go down and show your CCW and give them the $20.00 and your renewed! If you can't make it down to the office just mail them the $20.00 with your info and they will renew your CCW and mail the new one to you.

    I don't know what your worried about on the knife deal, I've never heard of such. We have a lot of hunting here and if there is a law against bowie's they must not enforce it cause every hunter I know has one on his side while out hunting! I have all kinds of knives, hell I even have a few swords. pocket knives,locking knives,bowies,tactical,survival, assisted opening knives, ...except swichblades which have been illegal for a lond time, but If you are a fireman or a policeman you can have those too. So if I were you I'd lighten up and not worry so much cause all is well in the great State of Alabama!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Out in the country; Chilton county

    Alabama Laws really all bark and no bite

    archangel;Alabama is nominally a "may-issue" state, but I have had carry permits in at least three counties over the years and the "reason" has to be no more than "self defense". No "begging"; a valid driver's license suffices. Neither I nor anyone I've heard of or can dig up has ever been denied in any county; if you can pass an NCIC background check, you're good to go.

    Regarding "hogmanjem's" comment about open carry; there's a several-year-old attorney general's opinion stating that open carry is allowed unless you're asked to leave while carrying, then it's the same old trespassing thing.

    As to the knife laws, I regularly carry a 4" folding lockback in a sheath and a 4-1/2" fixed-blade sheath knife at times. If you go into a courthouse, police facility or other place with metal detectors and an alert monitor, you may have to relinquish it during your visit, but it's returned promptly with no hassle when you leave.

    If you can't butcher a hog with a good 4-1/2" fixed-blade, a hacksaw and a belt hatchet (also allowed), you'd better just buy your pork at the butcher.

    I currently live out in the country in Chilton County, abutting Perry, with Bibb to your North, and we're all just country folks around here. There are some "bad" folks (or at least with questionabale morals), but they don't bother us. You will hear of some incident from time to time so a carry permit is a good idea, as always. I carry regularly in my Suburban and when out and about and have never been hassled about it.

    Glad to have you "yankees" come down (I was born in Illinois myself and don't even pass through the state any more, if I can help it---bad gun laws!)
    So don't worry, be happy and apply as soon as you get your 'Bama license.
    Sam (El Zorro)
    Last edited by ElZorro; 02-12-2011 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Add open carry comment

  8. #7
    Thank you SO much for taking the time to send this information, and for your kind invitation to "come on down". I am just about to do that! I have already spoken with several Alabama natives [about business and the process of moving] and have not heard one word that was anything but kind and welcoming. I grew up in Harlan County, KY, and am greatly looking forward to coming back to the South. These northerners try a man's patience, as they know almost nothing about being a gentleman, keeping their word, or clamping their ever- flapping jaws shut unless they have something to say. With your kindness in answering my post, I feel a little better about the laws. But I still have to say that I just don't understand it! I am moving within a few miles of the Talladega National Forest, and so far I still don't know whether I can walk in there [or anywhere else] and feel like the LEO's will treat me kindly, even though I've never even had a traffic ticket. Anyone who says "people are the same all over" has not done much traveling, and I sure do want things to be easy and friendly down there. I will take your advice and expect the best, though I have to say in my gut I am still prepared for the worst. At least now I know that the process was simple for someone in 'Bama, and that is hopeful. Thank you again for taking the time to write. Kind of you, and very much appreciated. - S

  9. #8
    Thank you very much for the reply. I really appreciate your time and helpful advice. Still, people keep saying "the law in 'Bama is not really the law", which actually means "the LEO's can do anything they darn well please"! I guess I just have to hope for good LEO's where I am going. In Indiana, a LEO is allowed to request your permit, but other than that, they are not allowed to give you ANY hassle about nearly ANYTHING you carry. It is going to be a terrible change for me.

    But then, as I always say about change: If you are getting older, having another birthday is better than the alternative!

    Thanks again for your time and helpfulness. It is greatly appreciated. -S

  10. #9
    Thank so much for your reply.

    So, you've told me about the knives you carry [I'm a Cold Steel fan myself], but you didn't mention whether you carry them openly or concealed, or whether you have ever had a LEO stop you, or talk to you about them. If so, I would love to hear about it.

    Thanks again. I appreciate the time you took to answer my question.


  11. #10
    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Most people are telling me about the same thing, although some say I have to prove that I've taken and passed a CCW "course", whatever that is, before going to the sheriff. I am concerned about that whole deal.

    When it comes to knives, I assure you that if you check the Alabama State Code, you will find that it is ABSOLUTELY illegal to carry any knife that is, or "resembles" a Bowie knife, and that the code considers even kitchen butcher knives to fall into that category. I can guarantee you that a LEO can arrest you right now for carrying any knife that could be interpreted as having a "Bowie style", and that, of course, includes every knife there is, since a mostly non-hunting jury will not know the difference between a "Bowie" knife and a sharpening steel, when the prosecutor holds it up and tells them they are the same thing!

    Once again, everyone keeps saying "don't worry about it - the law is not really the law". I just can't help wondering what that kid who just graduated from the academy will do when he sees my Trailmaster strapped on my belt! "Bingo - I got my first weapons offender"!!

    Thank you again for the kindness of taking the time to write. You are good folks down there, and it gives me hope.

    Much appreciation.


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