Alabama - Carry in Courthouses?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Malum Prohibitum, Jun 8, 2006.

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  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    Any Alabama members here? If so, can one carry into a courthouse in Alabama? Into a courtroom? Does anybody have any specific experience doing so?

    What about the state capitol building? Town hall meetings?

    The packing.org page puts only picket lines off limits in Alabama. Does anyone have more detailed information and personal experience?
     
  2. EVIL5LITER

    EVIL5LITER Member

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    No goverment buildings. Period.
     
  3. atlctyslkr

    atlctyslkr Member

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    I don't know of any states that allow private citizens to carry in courhouses. Some places even make law enforcment turn in guns before entering. I know here that only duty sherrifs are allowed to have guns and we had one of the most famous courthouse shootings of all time.
     
  4. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    There are states that allow carry into courthouses, but my question is aimed specifically at Alabama.

    According to packing.org (which I can never seem to get into lately :rolleyes: ), there is no public building restriction.

    EVIL5LITER (drive a Mustang? :) ), since you are in Alabama, would you kindly provide me with a citation to help me with my research? It would be most appreciated. I can't seem to find anything. The only restrictions on place I found are:

    (1) Public schools - but this does not apply if you have a carry license (so that would be one public building in which you can carry - unless you are about to point me to another statute that forbids it)
    and
    (2) People participating in picket lines or asked to leave the area of a picket line by the police.

    If there are more restrictions, I would appreciate someone pointing me to them. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    Hey, atlctyslkr, since I see you are in Atlanta, just curious whether you have ever been to the best Georgia-specific firearms forum on the net?

    www.georgiapacking.org

    There is none better.

    ;)
     
  6. engineer151515

    engineer151515 Member

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    Not in Mobile, Alabama's Government Plaza (where the courts are located).

    Metal Detectors.

    Strict enforcement.
     
  7. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Member

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    Not in Dadeville. They just put in an expensive weapon detection device and closed all doors but that one.

    Now Dadeville is not a hotbed of crime. We have one Judge for three Counties.
     
  8. ALHunter

    ALHunter Member

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    As a lawyer who travels the state in both state and federal court, the answer is no in courthouses. I feel naked having to leave my S&W 642 in the car when I go to court, but no other choice.

    No also to the State Capitol Building and State House. Metal detectors present at all public entrances. Other state government buildings I have not seen signs at nor are there metal detectors (e.g. buildings housing both Dep't of Human Resources and State Personnel Dep't.).

    Town Hall meetings are okay to my knowledge, unless held in court house or other building specifcally prohibited.
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    ALHunter, Since you are a lawyer, maybe you could provide the statute?

    And somebody needs to correct the info over at packing.org, if Alabama even has a state moderator.

    Is there a statute, or does just putting up metal detectors render a place off limits somehow?

    :confused:
     
  10. engineer151515

    engineer151515 Member

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    This might be helpful.

    http://www.al.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news/1149240263129450.xml&coll=1

    That said, there are prominate NO WEAPONS postings with metal detectors and security guards at courthouses I've visited in Baldwin and Mobile counties.
     
  11. bamawrx

    bamawrx Member

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    In Alabama, its all about the sherriff. He May issue a Restricted or Unrestricted permit. Some AL permits have a list of restrictions on the back that apply to the holder. These restrictions have the full weight of the law and are in addition to those minor restrictions spelled out in the code. These permits generally restrict county/state/fed buildings, drug use etc.. The sherriff can basically say no CCW in the Piggly Wiggly and its the law for you if you have his permit.

    I carry in "courthouses" in AL all the time, but I know the buildings and don't go anywhere near the restricted areas. The buildings are large and many times are seperate from the actual courtrooms, so its technically a "courthouse", but no security or posted restrictions.

    Some of the courthouses have security at the doors, others just to enter the actual court rooms, and some have postings prohibiting weapons. I don't carry inside if posted, and I don't go through security. I am only there for public records which in many cases is not near the restricted areas.

    Basically, don't do it. It sounds like your going to enter a courtroom in which case you will never get inside even in the podunk counties.

    An interesting legal question is if you are here with a reciprical license do you have to obey the additional restrictions set forth by a sherriff, or are you "more free" than the local citizens.

    PS. I am friends with the sherriff and have the only unrestricted permit in my county. (Insert smiley face here)
     
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    I don't understand. If there is no law against it, how can they keep you from carrying past the metal detector? With what would they charge you?

    What if your license is unrestricted? Then can you carry past the metal detector?

    I know in Viriginia many public buildings are not off limits and people show their firearms license and walk right through the metal detectors. It was met with some resistance at first by local potentates who did not wish to follow state law, but the VCDL soon took care of them and their gripes.

    Does Alabama not have a similar state level organization? I noticed the only organization mentioned in the news article is a national organization.

    Sounds like Alabamans need to organize - or that Democrat in the article is going to regroup next year and start restricting your licenses!

    At least make sure you can have a place to check in your gun if such a law passes, like Arizona just passed, but it sounds like you people need to start now if you want to preserve your ability to carry everywhere but picket lines, which is still the only restriction I can find in state law - not including these Sheriff restrictions, which I have not heard about until just now and do not know whether they are even legally enforceable.

    So, several people from Alabama have posted, one is even a lawyer, and nobody can point to state statute placing a single place off limits other than a picket line. Correct?
     
  13. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    Bamawrx, no, I am not heading to any courthouses in Alabama. I am in Georgia, and we have more restrictions on places of carry than any state in the nation. I am trying to change that (as are many others). One good argument is to point to other states to inform legislators that Georgia is not exactly on the vanguard here. Rather, we are well behind other states. Pointing to a state right next door (especially since southern states tend to be more restrictive - a holdover from Jim Crow era legislation) would help in that endeavor.

    It has been difficult to get accurate info, though, with people posting things like "Don't do it" in response to a simple request for the actual law. :rolleyes:
     
  14. ALHunter

    ALHunter Member

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    Here are the relevant Alabama statutes

    Here they are. Note that §13A-11-72(c) states "knowingly with intent to do bodily harm". My reading of that is as long as I have no intent of doing bodily harm I can carry on premises of a public school.

    Of particular interest is that it appears by the Amendment to §13A-11-75 that we are going away from a "shall issue" to a "may issue" law.

    Also, to address Malum's question on the courthouses: Yes, there may be no law prohibiting it if I have my carry permit (which I do), but I am not fighting that battle with any of the deputies or US Marshalls stationed at the metal detectors. Feel free to come to Alabama and have a go at that if you want to.

    § 13A-11-59. Possession of firearms by persons participating in, attending, etc., demonstrations at public places.
    (a) For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this subsection, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
    (1) DEMONSTRATION. Demonstrating, picketing, speechmaking or marching, holding of vigils and all other like forms of conduct which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers. Such term shall not include casual use of property by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.
    (2) FIREARM. Any pistol, rifle, shotgun or firearm of any kind, whether loaded or not.
    (3) LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. Any duly appointed and acting federal, state, county or municipal law enforcement officer, peace officer or investigating officer, or any military or militia personnel called out or directed by constituted authority to keep the law and order, and any park ranger while acting as such on the grounds of a public park and who is on regular duty and present to actively police and control the demonstration, and who is assigned this duty by his department or agency. Such term does not include a peace officer on strike or a peace officer not on duty.
    (4) PUBLIC PLACE. Any place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment or other lawful purpose, but does not necessarily mean a place devoted solely to the uses of the public. Such term shall include the front or immediate area or parking lot of any store, shop, restaurant, tavern, shopping center or other place of business. Such term shall also include any public building, the grounds of any public building, or within the curtilage of any public building, or in any public parking lot, public street, right-of-way, sidewalk right-of-way, or within any public park or other public grounds.
    (b) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than a law enforcement officer, to have in his or her possession or on his or her person or in any vehicle any firearm while participating in or attending any demonstration being held at a public place.
    (c) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than a law enforcement officer as defined in subsection (a) of this section, to have in his or her possession or about his or her person or in any vehicle at a point within 1,000 feet of a demonstration at a public place, any firearm after having first been advised by a law enforcement officer that a demonstration was taking place at a public place and after having been ordered by such officer to remove himself or herself from the prescribed area until such time as he or she no longer was in possession of any firearm. This subsection shall not apply to any person in possession of or having on his or her person any firearm within a private dwelling or other private building or structure.
    (d) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided by law.

    § 13A-11-72. Certain persons forbidden to possess pistol.(a) No person who has been convicted in this state or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence shall own a pistol or have one in his or her possession or under his or her control.
    (b) No person who is a drug addict or an habitual drunkard shall own a pistol or have one in his or her possession or under his or her control.
    (c) Subject to the exceptions provided by Section 13A-11-74, no person shall knowingly with intent to do bodily harm carry or possess a deadly weapon on the premises of a public school.
    (d) Possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to do bodily harm on the premises of a public school in violation of subsection (c) of this section is a Class C felony.
    (e) Law enforcement officers are exempt from this section, and persons with pistol permits issued pursuant to Section 13A-11-75, are exempt from the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.
    (f) The term "public school" as used in this section applies only to a school composed of grades K-12 and shall include a school bus used for grades K-12.
    (g) The term "deadly weapon" as used in this section means a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious physical injury, and such term includes, but is not limited to, a bazooka, hand grenade, missile, or explosive or incendiary device; a pistol, rifle, or shotgun; or a switch-blade knife, gravity knife, stiletto, sword, or dagger; or any club, baton, billy, black-jack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.

    § 13A-11-73. License to carry pistol in vehicle or concealed on person -- Required.No person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person, except on his land, in his own abode or fixed place of business, without a license therefor as hereinafter provided.

    § 13A-11-74. License to carry pistol in vehicle or concealed on person -- Exceptions.The provisions of Section 13A-11-73 shall not apply to marshals, sheriffs, prison and jail wardens and their regularly employed deputies, policemen and other law enforcement officers of any state or political subdivision thereof, or to the members of the army, navy or marine corps of the United States or of the national guard, or to the members of the national guard organized reserves or state guard organizations when on duty or going to or from duty, or to the regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive such weapons from the United States or from this state; provided, that such members are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target practices, or to officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a pistol, or to any person engaged in manufacturing, repairing or dealing in pistols, or the agent or representative of such person possessing, using, or carrying a pistol in the usual or ordinary course of such business, or to any common carrier, except taxicabs, licensed as a common carrier, 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.

    § 13A-11-75. License to carry pistol in vehicle or concealed on person -- Issuance; term; form; fee; revocation.

    The sheriff of a county may, upon the application of any person residing in that county, issue a qualified or unlimited license to such person to carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on or about his person within this state for not more than one year from date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to his person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol, and that he is a suitable person to be so licensed. The license shall be in triplicate, in form to be prescribed by the Secretary of State, and shall bear the name, address, description and signature of the licensee and the reason given for desiring a license. The original thereof shall be delivered to the licensee, the duplicate shall, within seven days, be sent by registered or certified mail to the Director of Public Safety and the triplicate shall be preserved for six years by the authority issuing the same. The fee for issuing such license shall be $1.00 which shall be paid into the county treasury. The sheriff may revoke a license upon proof that the licensee is not a proper person to be licensed.

    PENDING LEGISLATION WILL CHANGE THIS CODE SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    Act 2006-551
    H.B. No. 214
    CRIMINAL CODE--SHERIFF--FIREARM POSSESSION--STATE OR FEDERAL VIOLATION

    By: Representative Page

    Enrolled, An Act, To amend Section 13A-11-75, Code of Alabama 1975, to require each sheriff to contact available local, state, and federal criminal history data banks to determine whether possession of a firearm would be a violation of state or federal law; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.
    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

    Section 1. Section 13A-11-75, Code of Alabama 1975, is amended to read as follows:
    "§ 13A-11-75.
    "The sheriff of a countymay, upon the application of any person residing in that county, shallmay issue a qualified or unlimited license to such person to carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on or about his person within this state for not more than one year from date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to his person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol, and that he is a suitable person to be so licensed. The license shall be in triplicate, in form to be prescribed by the Secretary of State, and shall bear the name, address, description and signature of the licensee and the reason given for desiring a license. The original thereof shall be delivered to the licensee, the duplicate shall, within seven days, be sent by registered or certified mail to the Director of Public Safety and the triplicate shall be preserved for six years by the authority issuing the same. The fee for issuing such license shall be $1.00 which shall be paid into the county treasury unless otherwise provided by local law.as per local act. Prior to issuance of a permit license, the sheriff shall contact available local, state, and federal criminal history data banks to determine whether possession of a firearm by an applicant would be a violation of state or federal law. The sheriff may revoke a license upon proof that the licensee is not a proper person to be licensed."

    Section 2. Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621 because the Legislative Fiscal Office has determined the bill has an aggregate fiscal impact of less than $50,000 annually.
    Section 3. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

    Approved April 25, 2006.

    AL LEGIS 2006-551
     
  15. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    Thanks ALHunter!

    By the way, look a couple sections lower on the school one - license holders are exempt, so you don't have to worry about that one.

    (e) Law enforcement officers are exempt from this section, and persons with pistol permits issued pursuant to Section 13A-11-75, are exempt from the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.


    As for fighting with the marshalls or sheriffs, well, I wasn't suggesting a shootout! :what: Rather, a simple declaratory judgment action and an injunction.

    On the amendment to the law pertaining to the issuing of licenses: You already have a "may issue" law. The amendment just requires background checks which is also done in each of the forty-some-odd "shall issue" states already. This does not, however, make Alabama's law "shall issue." Note the "good reason" and "proper reason" and "suitable person" language in the statute you provided. Each of those are discretionary terms.

    Thank you for posting the statutes! :) I just wanted to make sure there was not something I was missing.


    I guess it isn't hard to blame Alabamans for not having any organization fighting for your rights, given that almost nothing is off limits. I just hope the antis do not catch you unaware and win before you can get organized!
     
  16. Collier

    Collier Member

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    Interesting conversation.....thanks ALHunter for the statutes. Being in Birmingham though (and not knowing where y'all are located in the state) if you look at the back of your Jefferson County 'Unrestricted' CCW it states the following:

    "This permit entitles you to carry a hadgun concealed within the State of Alabama unless otherwise prohibited.

    WARNING:
    State and Federal laws strictly regulate the possession of firearms in certain areas that include schools, federal, state, county and city buildings, and air terminals."

    This might have come into play in a lawman's eyes even though some of the statutes may differ.

    Thoughts?
     
  17. Collier

    Collier Member

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    While we're at it, I would like ALHunter's take on the following bit taken from Packin.org:

    "Open Carry
    Attorney General Graddick on March 22, 1984 issued opinion 84-00205 to the District Attorney of Butler County Alabama. That opinion stated that a person while on foot could openly carry a firearm on his/her person without a permit of any kind. The firearm had to be visible and all restrictions applied as those that applied to holders of a Concealed Carry permit. Title 14 –175 states that “No person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle …” So if you open carry and you want to get into a vehicle you must unload and secure the firearm or you are in violation of the law.

    You can open carry while afoot but must unload and secure the firearm when you get in a vehicle."

    I have never seen anyone open carry in AL. And as far as I know, we can not. Makes me wonder about the validity of this statement.
     
  18. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    "Thoughts?"

    Yeah! :D I have some thoughts. They have to charge you with something, and it can't be "violating an ambiguous statement on the back of a license." At least I think it can't.

    The state law restrictions - well, that is what I was getting at. Unless there are some other statutes not posted above, then the statement on the back of the license is simply not true.

    Since ALHunter is a lawyer in Alabama, I will take his word for it that there are no other statutes (these are also the ones listed in the Places Off Limits section of packing.org).

    The federal law restrictions - well, duh. I wouldn't try to insist on carrying your gun past the metal detector at the airport and onto an airplane! Or insist on carrying it onto the Army base nearby . . . but then, those are actual statutes for which you can be actually charged, aren't they?

    If Alabama has nothing more than what was posted above, then I do not see how they can prevent you from carrying into "schools, federal, state, county and city buildings, and air terminals."

    The federal buildings may indeed be off limits under federal law (dunno), but that still is not a violation of Alabama law, is it? Same goes for the air terminals (after the metal detectors).
     
  19. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Member

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    Collier, please visit opencarry.org http://www.opencarry.org/

    Also, remember, there is a maxim, that which is not prohibited . . .

    In short, with what would you be charged for open carrying?

    I hear this often in Georgia "I never see anyone open carrying." Yet, I open carry, and I have seen others, even if infrequently.

    I have seen two individuals open carrying in Alabama, and I don't even live there. I did not see a SWAT team get called out . . . in fact, I saw no reaction by anybody at all.
     
  20. ALHunter

    ALHunter Member

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    My permit is from Shelby County (Sheriff Chris Curry and his deputies are top notch by the way).

    All mine states is: "State of Alabama Pistol License, Unrestricted. License to carry a legal handgun concealed on the person or in a vehicle is hereby granted."

    Per your post and prior posts, I see no state law prohibitng carry (with a permit) on public school property. There could be a federal law dealing with schools, but I'm not aware of it. I'll try to do some research on that when I have spare time.

    As to our permits apparently granting us the right to carry in courthouses, I just don't see that as a winning battle at the metal detector. Not sure a declaratory judgment action is the proper vehicle either. Assuming it is, I think all that would do is drive the legislature to amend the statute to specifically prohibit CCW in courthouses. While they are making that change, they'd likely feel compelled to ban us from many more places. I'd rather not stir the pot. I'm happy - for now - with the wide lattitude we have in AL.

    Also, to my knoweldge open carry in public is not permissible. I thought I recalled AG Graddick's opinion to refer to private property, but I could be wrong. Regardless, when I reviewed all the statutes in §13A this morning I found nothing addressing open carry. FWIW, if I were inclined to open carry in public (which I am not), I would not rely on AG Graddick's Opinion as my sole source of authority. Interestingly, I clerked for the Opinion's section of the Alabama AG's office one summer during law school. The AG opinions are advisory only. Absent a specific statute permitting open carry in public, I would not do so.
     
  21. Tinker

    Tinker Member

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    Been reading this thread and I see one thing that seems to be misunderstood. The "restricted" permit thing. When I first applied for a carry permit in another county, several years ago, it was a restricted permit. "Restricted" meaning that I could only conceal carry one specific firearm with that permit. That permit even had that gun's serial # written on it.

    A few years later I moved to a county were the permits are "unrestricted". All that means is I can conceal carry any pistol I own.

    Though, on the back, the permit states: "Your pistol permit is void in any air teminal or in any court house or other public building whether city, county, state or federal."

    Now that sounds restricted. :)

    I've never seen two counties with identical rules. I guess local sheriff's can take a lot of leeway with restictions and rules.
     
  22. jrou111

    jrou111 Member

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    Mine is from Mobile County:

    Says "Your Pistol Permit allows you to carry any legal Pistol concealed in your vehicle, or on your person, within the State of Alabama. Under the Alabama Reciprocal Pistol Permit Law, certain other States also recognize Alabama Pistol Permits. Limitations regarding this Permit are listed in the booklet you received.

    Your permit can be confiscated by any Law enforcement officer for irresponsible behavior.

    The pamphlet says:

    "Warning"

    "Your pistol permit does not authorize you to carry a pistol into any establishment that serves alcohol or to be in possession of a pistol while consuming alcohol.

    Your pistol permit does not authorize you to carry a pistol inside an airport, courthouse or any other public building that specifically prohibits firearms. This includes city, state and Federal facilities.

    Your pistol permit does not authorize you to carry a pistol at any public gathering such as sporting events, political events, parades and etc. (Title 13A-11-59)

    Irresponsible behavior on the part of the pistol permit holder may result in the immediate consfication of said pistol permit by any law enforcement officer. (Sheriff Jack S. Tillman)

    Revised: 12/99"
     
  23. Comp-tech

    Comp-tech Member

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    ALHunter....could I get your thoughts, as a lawyer, on the statements made in the cases below?

    KJ v. State, 690 So.2d 541 (Ala.Cr.App.,1997)

    "Here, as in Braxton, there is a conflict between the two statutes. Section 13A-11-52, like § 3A-11-50, does not permit the carrying of a pistol outside of a person's own premises under any circumstances. However, that section does begin with the phrase ‘[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this article.’ Section 13A-11-73 clearly allows a person with a pistol license to carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on the person. Furthermore, in Morris v. State, 342 So.2d 417, 418 (Ala.Cr.App.1977), and Looney v. State, 41 Ala.App. 582, 141 So.2d 535, 536 (1962), this court held that § 13A-11-73 does not prohibit carrying an unlicensed pistol if the pistol is unconcealed and the person is on foot.



    Morris v. State, 342 So.2d 417 (1977)

    However, the State failed to prove that the arrest was lawful. In fact it was not lawfully authorized because defendant was not carrying a concealed pistol. The State's evidence (Tr. p. 7) shows that the pistol was in a scabbard or holster, worn on the side and was not covered.

    We call attention to Title 14, s 175, Recompiled Code 1958, which reads:

    ‘No person shall carry a pistol in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person, except on his land, in his own abode or fixed place of business, without a license therefor as hereinafter provided.’

    It is to be observed that this law prohibits carrying a pistol (concealed or not) in any vehicle or ‘concealed on or about his person, except . . . without a license therefor . . ..’ It does not prohibit an unconcealed pistol. Acts 1956, 2d Session, No. 43, p. 336.




    Looney v. State, 41 Al. App. 582 (1962)

    Looney demurred [my note - this is a motion to dismiss] on the ground that the complaint did not state a violation of any law.

    Code 1940, T. 14, § 175, as amended, makes it an offense for a person who has no license therefor (except on his land, abode or place of business):

    1) to carry a pistol in any vehicle; or

    2) to carry a pistol concealed on or about his person.

    Thus, a permit is not required when a person afoot carries an unconcealed pistol.
     
  24. Reyn

    Reyn Member

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    .
     
  25. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Huh? I get from that a permit is required to conceal carry or to carry one in your car ... open carry is not addressed and I would not conclude you can open carry in public from that statement (except on one's own property.).
     
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