(a) The purpose of this section is to establish within the Legislature complete control over regulation and policy pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories in order to ensure that such regulation and policy is applied uniformly throughout this state to each person subject to the state's jurisdiction and to ensure protection of the right to keep and bear arms recognized by the Constitutions of the State of Alabama and the United States. This section is to be liberally construed to accomplish its purpose.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(1) AMMUNITION. Fixed cartridge ammunition, shotgun shells, the individual components of fixed cartridge ammunition and shotgun shells, projectiles for muzzle-loading firearms, and any propellant used in firearms or ammunition.
(2) EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY A STATUTE OF THIS STATE. The authority of a political subdivision to regulate firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories that is granted by a duly enacted state law that specifically mentions firearms, a particular type of firearm, ammunition, or a particular type of ammunition.
(3) FIREARM ACCESSORY. A device specifically designed or adapted to enable the wearing or carrying about one's person, or the storage or mounting in or on a conveyance, of a firearm, or an attachment or device specifically designed or adapted to be inserted into or affixed onto a firearm to enable, alter, or improve the functioning or capabilities of the firearm.
(4) FIREARM. This term has the same meaning as in Section 13A-8-1(4).
(5) PERSON ADVERSELY AFFECTED. Any of the following:
a. A resident of this state who may legally possess a firearm under the laws of this state and the United States and who is either of the following:
1. Subject to any manner of regulation alleged to be promulgated or enforced in violation of this section, whether or not specific enforcement action has been initiated or threatened against that person or another person.
2. If the person were present in the political subdivision in question, subject to any manner of regulation alleged to be promulgated or enforced in violation of this section, whether or not specific enforcement action has been initiated or threatened against that person or another person.
b. A person who otherwise has standing under the laws of this state to bring an action under subsection (f).
c. A membership organization if its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right, if the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose, and neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.
(6) POLITICAL SUBDIVISION. A county, incorporated city, unincorporated city, public local entity, public-private partnership, and any other public entity of a county or city commonly considered to be a political subdivision of the state.
(7) PUBLIC OFFICIAL. Any person elected to public office, whether or not that person has taken office, by the vote of the people of a political subdivision or its instrumentalities, including governmental corporations, and any person appointed to a position at the municipal level of government or its instrumentalities, including governmental corporations.
(8) REASONABLE EXPENSES. The expenses involved in litigation, including, but not limited to, expert witness fees, court costs, and compensation for loss of income.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in Act 2013-283 or as expressly authorized by a statute of this state, the Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of regulation in this state touching in any way upon firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or rule promulgated or enforced by any political subdivision of this state.
(d) The authority of a political subdivision to regulate firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories shall not be inferred from its proprietary authority, home rule status, or any other inherent or general power.
(e) Any existing orders, ordinances, or rules promulgated or enforced contrary to the terms of this section are null and void and any future order, ordinance, or rules shall comply with this section.
(f)(1) A person adversely affected by any order, ordinance, or rule promulgated in violation of this section may file a petition with the Attorney General requesting that he or she bring an action in circuit court for declarative and injunctive relief. The petition must be signed under oath and under penalty of perjury and must include specific details regarding the alleged violations.
(2) If, after investigation of the enactment or adoption of the order, ordinance, or rule, the Attorney General determines that there is reasonable cause to proceed with an action, he or she shall provide the political subdivision or public official enacting or adopting the order, ordinance, or rule 60 days' notice of his or her intent to file an action. Upon the expiration of the 60 days' notice, the Attorney General may file the suit.
(3) If, after investigation of the enactment or adoption of the order, ordinance, or rule, the Attorney General determines that there is no reasonable cause to proceed with an action, he or she shall publicly state in writing the justification for the determination not to file suit.
(4) The Attorney General shall either bring an action or publicly state, within 90 days of receipt of the petition, in the written justification why a violation of the spirit of this section, specifically subsections (a) and (c), has not occurred.
(5) The court may award reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses to a person adversely affected if an action under this subsection results in a final determination in favor of the person adversely affected.
(g) This section shall not be construed to prevent any of the following:
(1) A duly organized law enforcement agency of a political subdivision from promulgating and enforcing rules pertaining to firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories that it issues to or that are used by the political subdivision's peace officers in the course of their official duties.
(2) An employer from regulating or prohibiting an employee's carrying or possession of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition during and in the course of the employee's official duties.
(3) A prosecutor, court or administrative law judge from hearing and resolving a case or controversy or issuing an opinion or order on a matter within its jurisdiction.
(4) The enactment or enforcement of a generally applicable zoning or business ordinance that includes firearms businesses along with other businesses, provided that an ordinance designed or enforced effectively to restrict or prohibit the sale, purchase, transfer, manufacture, or display of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories that is otherwise lawful under the laws of this state is in conflict with this section and is void.
(5) A political subdivision from enacting and enforcing rules of operation and use for any firearm range owned or operated by the political subdivision.
(6) A political subdivision from sponsoring or conducting any firearm-related competition or educational or cultural program and from enacting and enforcing rules for participation in or attendance at such program, provided that nothing in this section authorizes or permits a political subdivision to offer remuneration for the surrender or transfer of a privately owned firearm to the political subdivision or another party as a method of reducing the number of privately owned firearms within the political subdivision.
(7) Any official of a political subdivision, a sheriff, or other law enforcement officer with appropriate authority and jurisdiction from enforcing any law enacted by the Legislature.
(8) A sheriff of a county from acting on an application for a permit under Section 13A-11-75.
(9) A political subdivision from leasing public property to another person or entity for a gun show or other firearm-related event on terms agreeable to both parties.
(10) The adoption or enforcement by a county or municipality of ordinances which make the violation of a state firearm law a violation of an ordinance, provided that the elements of the local ordinance may not differ from the state firearm law, nor may the local ordinance impose a higher penalty than what is imposed under the state firearm law.
(11) A municipality from regulating the discharge of firearms within the limits of the municipality or a county from exercising any authority it has under law, to regulate the discharge of firearms within the jurisdiction of the county. The discharge of a firearm in defense of one's self or family or in defense of one's property may not be construed to be a violation of state law or any ordinance or rule of a political subdivision of this state.
(12) A county or a municipality from exercising any authority it has to assess, enforce, and collect generally applicable sales taxes, use taxes, and gross receipts taxes in the nature of sales taxes as defined by Section 40-2A-3(8), on the retail sale of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories along with other goods, provided that no such tax imposed by a county or municipality may apply at a higher rate to firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories than the general sales tax rate of the jurisdiction.
Last modified: May 3, 2021