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New gun laws bring changes to Alabamians

Alabama’s gun laws are changing come Aug. 1, and the changes are significant.

Under the new law, several changes make it easier for individuals to carry guns – even without a permit and even to work, thanks to changes to the conceal-carry laws. According to an NRA summary, the new law:

• Allows those who possess a valid Alabama pistol permit to keep firearms stored in their vehicle while at work, as well as allowing those who possess a valid Alabama hunting license to store an unloaded rifle or shotgun used in their vehicle while at work.

• Allows transportation of a handgun in a vehicle without an Alabama pistol permit as long as the handgun is unloaded, locked in a container and out of reach of the driver or passenger.

•Shifts the current “May Issue” concealed carry permit system to a “Shall Issue” permit system and requires that a sheriff must issue or deny the carry permit within thirty days. Should someone be denied a permit, a written denial must be provided and that applicant would have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

•A permit to carry a concealed pistol shall be good for one to five years (to be decided by the applicant seeking the carry permit).

• Requires sheriffs to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to conduct a background check on concealed pistol permit applicants.

• Allows for all other valid state-issued permits to carry a concealed firearm to be recognized in Alabama.

• Strengthens Alabama’s firearms preemption statute by reserving for the state legislature complete control over regulation and policy relating to firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation is applied uniformly throughout the state.

• Extends the current Castle Doctrine to include places of business to ensure the right of self-defense does not end when you enter your business.

In a state where Second Amendment rights are highly valued, the new law provides sweeping changes that have earned the support of lawmakers, the governor and many voters.