Domestic Violence & Firearms in Alabama

Posted on August 24, 2015

Alabama enacted a law in 2015 to prohibit possession of a firearm by individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses or other specified violent offenses (including stalking, child abuse, and domestic violence crimes),1 and by individuals subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse.2

The term “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” as used in this section means a misdemeanor offense that has, as its elements, the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, person with whom the defendant has a child in common, or a present or former household member.3

The term “valid protection order” as used in this section means an order issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate, that does any of the following: (1) restrains the respondent from harassing, stalking, or threatening a spouse or former spouse of the respondent, an individual who is a parent of a child of the respondent, or an individual who cohabitates or has cohabited with the respondent, or a child of such individuals, or that restrains the respondent from engaging in other conduct that would place such an individual in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the individual or child and that includes a finding that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the individual or child. A valid protection order must also (2) by its terms, explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the qualified individual or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.4 

Alabama law also authorizes a judge or magistrate, who is releasing a person who has been charged with domestic violence or violation of a protection order on bail, to prohibit the person from possessing a firearm, as a condition of bail, except when such weapon is necessary for the person’s employment as a peace officer or military personnel.5

Alabama law still does not:

  • Require courts to notify domestic abusers when they become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law;
  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law; or
  • Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident, although Alabama authorizes a law enforcement officer to disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual. Alabama also makes it the duty of an officer arresting a person charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm to seize any handguns in that person’s possession or control.6

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

  1. Ala. Code § 12-25-32(15). []
  2. 2015 AL H.B. 47, amending Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). []
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(l). []
  4. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(m). []
  5. Ala. Code § 15-13-190. []
  6. Ala. Code §§ 31-9-8(d), 31-9-10(d), 13A-11-84(b). []