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Alabama firearm background checks up in 2013

By Gary Lloyd

National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks in the state of Alabama were up in 2013, according to FBI statistics.

From Jan. 1, 2013, through November 2013, 486,506 background checks were performed on Alabama citizens looking to purchase firearms from federally licensed dealers. For all of 2012, that number was 431,356. In 2011, 336,102 background checks were performed on Alabama citizens and there were 308,607 in 2010.

In 2009, 317,868 background checks were performed against Alabamians, and in 2008 there were 299,432. The number was 245,355 in 2007, 243,176 in 2006 and in 2005 there were 235,873 background checks. In 2004 there were 229,997 background checks in Alabama and in 2003 there were 225,479.

For the first 11 months of 2013, only 13 states — California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington — had more citizens checked than Alabama.

The population in Alabama is more than 4,800,000, meaning that a background check was performed on one in almost every 10 Alabamian in the first 11 months of 2013.

The statistics from the FBI represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

A new Alabama gun law took effect Aug. 1, 2013, clarifying the ability of people without a permit to carry a pistol openly in public unless there is signage indicating otherwise, to store a pistol in their vehicle at work under certain conditions regardless of objections from an employer and to transport a pistol in their vehicle without a permit if it is unloaded and out of reach of the vehicle’s occupants.

The law also requires a sheriff to approve a pistol permit within 30 days or justify why not. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff may deny a permit application if a determination has been made that the person is prohibited from the possession of a pistol or firearm pursuant to state or federal law, or has a reasonable suspicion that the person may use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner that would endanger the person or others. Applicants denied a pistol license have 30 days to file an appeal with the District Court of Jefferson County.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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