BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session went into effect Tuesday, after a bipartisan effort ushered through several significant reforms.
The changes, sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), were backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Governor Bentley signed the bill into law on June 4.
“This is a victory for the Second Amendment and alabama’s law-abiding gun owners”, said executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Chris. W. Cox. “Among other reforms, the new law gives young people greater opportunities to learn and enjoy our firearms and hunting heritage…”
One of the more significant safeguards included in the statute is requiring state probate court judges to report to law enforcement every person they commit for involuntary mental health treatment. Under federal law, anyone involuntarily committed for treatment cannot buy a gun.
Previously, the law required reporting only in cases where there was evidence of inappropriate use of weapons or threats of such use. Alabamians who were forced to receive mental health treatment can appeal to have their gun ownership rights reinstated.
This new provision is intended to plug some of the cracks in the process that previously allowed some ineligible citizens seeking firearms to obtain them because the database that is referenced during sales was not up to date.
The law also allows minors to posses pistols with the permission of a parent or legal guardian who is also legally permitted to carry a weapon for use in a firearm or hunter safety course or firing range, for organized competition with a non-profit group, for hunting where permitted with a parent or guardian in Armed Services or in self-defense at their own residence.
Previously, a minor was in violation of the law for possessing a handgun even if they were on their guardian’s property and had their permission.
The law also repeals repetitive pistol registration requirements, allows those with concealed carry permits to keep a firearm in their car, even while in the parking lot of an establishment that does not allow guns.
Among the other changes, now if a person is carrying a firearm into a facility with guards, barriers, and signs it will be considered a Class C misdemeanor. Additionally, it is now legal for employees to keep a firearm in a privately-owned vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area.
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— John James (@john_james_20) August 19, 2015