One reason some people get concealed carry permits, even if they don’t actually carry all that often, is so they can skip the NICS background check. The background check can be held up, delaying someone from taking possession of their gun for days. Also, the system sometimes makes mistakes and issues wrongful denials.
Besides, the background checks for permits are typically more in-depth than the NICS checks.
Except, it seems, in parts of Alabama.
As a result, no one in Alabama is going to get to enjoy the benefit of showing their concealed carry permit and skipping the background check.
Alabama concealed carry permits no longer qualify as an adequate substitute for a federal background check for those buying a firearm from a licensed gun dealer. The ATF announced the change Monday in a public safety advisor issued to all Alabama federal firearm licensees. The change follows a federal review of the state’s permitting system that found instances in which individuals received permits without completing a check.
According to the advisory, the state issued permits to an unspecified number of prohibited persons who then successfully used the permit to buy a firearm from an FFL. The ATF determined in 2016 that Alabama’s carry requirements after Aug. 1, 2013 qualified as an alternative to a NICS check. However, a federal review found routine errors and incomplete background checks therefore the state’s enforcement fo the standard fails to meet those set by federal law.
Honestly, with the recent news that some Alabama jurisdictions weren’t performing proper background checks prior to issuing permits, you kind of had to expect this. After all, if someone was able to obtain a concealed carry permit who shouldn’t have and then purchase a firearm they shouldn’t have been able to get, that’s something the ATF isn’t going to be happy with.
As a result, every permit holder in Alabama is going to have to go through the NICS checks because of this.
Now, I’m not a fan of background checks in general. I think the whole process has shown itself to be a failure. Criminals pass background checks are too often, just as law-abiding citizens somehow get flagged as prohibited people. Further, criminals generally don’t go through the hassle of buying a gun through a gun store anyway, as the Department of Justice recently found. The whole thing doesn’t do what proponents said it would do.
But it’s also the law. Stupid as it may be, it’s required if you don’t want a matching set of bracelets from the police. Stores are required to perform them unless presented with a concealed carry permit which shows the bearer already did go through the check.
The problem is that in Alabama, you can’t just assume that.
It’s a prime example of a handful of jackwagons screwing things up for everyone else. As a Georgian, I’m tempted to crack an Alabama joke, but I’ll resist. After all, this is actually a serious matter.
The big question now is, can this be fixed? Over time, sure, but is there something Alabama can do to be more proactive for their permit holders? I honestly don’t know, but it’s worth the state looking into it.