When buying or selling a firearm in the state of Alabama all parties involved should have knowledge of the state’s laws and regulations that govern sales and transfers of firearms. For those considering selling or buying, selling and transferring a gun in Alabama through a private transaction, being informed of the laws surrounding guns is important to ensure buyers and sellers are in compliance Alabama laws. The following information is compiled from a memorandum on State Laws and Published ordinances from the Alabama Office of Attorney General to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Buying and Selling a Gun in Alabama
Anyone purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer must complete a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms form 4473 (firearms transaction form). This form will be maintained by the dealer. A firearms purchaser must, under the permanent provisions of the Federal Brady Law, also undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check, which will be performed by the firearms dealer.
The check will indicate to the dealer whether the purchaser’s background allows for the person to complete the purchase of the firearm. If the check disallows the sale for no warranted reason, there is an appeal process the purchaser can pursue to receive the necessary clearance to complete the purchase.
Private Sales of a Firearm
In the state of Alabama, there are no laws requiring a background check to buy or sell a firearm in a private transaction between two individuals.
However, there are penalties for buyers and sellers if the firearm was sold to an ineligible person, selling a defaced firearm or selling a restricted firearm (explosive weapon, machine gun), which can result in different criminal charges including and up to a felony criminal charge.
Restrictions on Firearm Ownership in Alabama
Generally, Alabama defaults to federal law regarding the sale and purchase of firearms.
In order to purchase a firearm legally, the buyer must be 18 years old to purchase rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Buyers looking to purchase handguns must be at least 21 years old. No permits or registration are required to own a firearm in the state.
The following disqualifies a person in Alabama from purchasing a firearm.
FEDERAL DISQUALIFICATION CATEGORIES
- Conviction (felony or misdemeanor) where the crime has a maximum imprisonment term exceeding 1 year (even if a buyer did not receive actual imprisonment exceeding 1 year).
- Warrant (felony or out-of-state misdemeanor).
- Felony pre-trial release.
- Misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence restraining/stalking/protection order mental health adjudication or commitment.
- Unlawful use or addicted to a controlled substance (including marijuana).
- Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
- Renounced U.S. citizenship.
- Illegal alien.
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