Gun Reciprocity Law

Since August 1, 2001, the state of Alabama had the legislative authority to recognize reciprocal concealed weapons permits with other states, due to the passage of Act 2001-494 (Senate Bill 122) which was signed by the Governor on May 15, 2001.

This law allows Alabama concealed weapon permit holders to take their weapons into states which recognize Alabama licenses. It also allows residents of other states to bring their weapons into Alabama as long as the state issuing the license recognizes Alabama's gun licensing law. The chart below provides updated information on which states have such a reciprocal agreement with Alabama. Generally, for another state to reach an agreement with Alabama, both states' licensing laws must be substantially similar. Permit holders are reminded that while carrying a valid concealed handgun in another state, they are bound by that state's law concerning concealed handguns. A permit or license holder from another state shall carry their handgun in compliance with the laws of Alabama while they are in this state.

Please note that not all states have entered into this agreement. If a state does not accept Alabama's concealed handgun licensing laws as substantially similar, the reasons they will not enter into reciprocity with Alabama are listed by numbers and the statement of the REASONS given is set out below this table by the corresponding numbers 1-13.

Note: Please see the statement below regarding other states' NON-RESIDENT concealed handgun licenses.















The following list contains frequent reasons given to our office by states with more stringent concealed handgun licensing laws as to why they will not recognize Alabama concealed handgun licenses. This list is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge. It will be updated as we obtain additional information or as the laws of either state are changed to add or delete reasons for denial of concealed handgun license reciprocity.

1. Has a statutory requirement of a signed agreement to establish reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun licenses.

2. Require by statute that an NCIC background check be done on all applicants for concealed handgun licenses.

3. Require fingerprint card to do criminal background check on applicant.

4. Require minimum age of applicant for concealed handgun license to be twenty-one (21) years of age.

5. Require a centralized, one phone number or on-line database which can give 24/7 verification and status of concealed handgun licenses in Alabama prior to recognizing Alabama concealed handgun licenses.

6. They are a "shall issue" state. If an applicant meets the statutory requirements for issue of a concealed handgun license, the state "shall issue" him or her a license. Alabama is a "may issue" state if the Sheriff determines a person has a "proper reason for carrying a pistol, and that he is a suitable person to be so licensed," the Sheriff, "may issue" the person a license. Ala. Code Sec. 13A-11-75. They will not recognize handgun licenses unless they are issued by a state that is also a "shall issue" state.

7. Training requirements or proficiency requirements. 5-, 8-, or 16-hour training requirement, and some states require passing a handgun proficiency test.

8. Permit must contain biographical information and a photograph of the permittee.

9. History of violence is a restricting factor.

10. Applicants must meet all requirements of 18 USC 922(g).

18 USC 922(g) is a section of the U.S. Code which states it is unlawful for anyone who is convicted of a felony, who is a fugitive from justice, who is an unlawful user of controlled dangerous substances, who has been adjudicated mentally defective or been committed to a mental institution, who is an illegal alien; who was dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces, who has renounced his citizenship, or who is under restrictions of a protective order to own or possess a firearm.

11. Applicants must make a sworn application.

12. Prohibit convicted felons from obtaining a concealed handgun license.

13. Require a mental health background check.


Will Alabama honor a non-resident concealed handgun license in addition to honoring the concealed handgun licenses issued to a resident of one of the states that recognizes and honors Alabama concealed handgun licenses?

Alabama issues concealed handgun licenses only to residents of Alabama, through the sheriff of their county of residence.

Some states, with whom we have reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun licenses, issue handgun licenses not only to residents of their state but also issue "non-resident" concealed handgun licenses to residents of other states.

At the present time, Act 2001-494 does not specifically address the issue of Alabama's recognition of a non-resident handgun license issued by a state with which Alabama has reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun licenses. Nor is there a formal Attorney General's Opinion, or Alabama case law on this subject. If an Alabama law enforcement agency requests and receives an official Attorney General's Opinion that opinion will be available to the public on our web site in the Opinions section.

Until the Legislature, or a court of competent jurisdiction, or an "official" Attorney General's Opinion addresses this question, our office's "unofficial opinion" is that, at this time, Alabama will honor non-resident concealed handgun licenses from a state which recognizes handgun licenses issued to Alabama residents. Since this is a new area of law and subject to change, we do urge caution. It is suggested that persons whose state of residence does not recognize Alabama concealed handgun licenses periodically check our website and the website of the state which issues their non-resident concealed handgun license, as well as being aware of news stories and court cases on the subject.

Download the information below

Following is text from the Department of Public Safety's synopsis of Alabama's pistol law:

RE: Alabama Pistol Laws and Carrying/Transporting a Pistol

The following synopsis of Alabama law is furnished for general information only, and does not constitute legal advice or counsel:

Alabama law prohibits any person from carrying a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about their person without a pistol permit license. Ala. Code § 13A-11-73 (1975). Under Alabama law, a "pistol" is defined as "any firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches in length." Licenses to carry a pistol are issued by local county sheriffs in Alabama. A person must be a resident of that county to apply for and be issued a pistol permit license. Alabama as of August 1, 2001 under Act 2001-494 has provisions for recognizing pistol permits or concealed weapon licenses issued by states who will recognize pistol permits issued by Alabama.

The license requirement of section 13A-11-73 does not apply to "regularly employed" law enforcement officers; to members of the armed forces or National Guard while on duty or going to or from duty; to persons engaged in manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in pistols; or to any person permitted by law to possess a pistol while carrying it unloaded in a secure wrapper, from the place of purchase to his home or place of business, or to or from a place of repair or in moving from one place of abode or business to another. Ala. Code § 13A-11-74 (1975).

It is our interpretation of the Code of Alabama that "regularly employed" law enforcement means full time, sworn law enforcement officers. Such persons are exempt from the requirement to possess a permit and may carry their pistols concealed or unconcealed.

The State of Alabama does recognize pistol licenses or permits to carry concealed weapons issued by other states who will recognize Alabama pistol licenses. [See the list posted above.] Also, a person may carry or transport a long gun (rifle or shotgun) without a permit. A person may lawfully transport a firearm, including a handgun, from one state in which they are legal to possess to another state without a permit as required under Alabama law, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The firearm is unloaded.
  • Neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle.
  • In case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver's compartment, the firearm and ammunition shall be in a locked container other than the glove box or console.

18 USC § 926 (a) (2006).

Under Alabama law, no person convicted in this state or elsewhere of a "crime of violence" may own or possess a pistol. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72 (1975). Crimes of violence are defined as murder, manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and larceny. No person addicted to drugs or habitually intoxicated may own or possess a pistol. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72 (1975). Any person in violation of Alabama's pistol laws may be arrested and upon conviction, subjected to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year and a fine of not more than $500, or both. The pistol will be seized and may be forfeited by court order.