Gun-free zones in Alabama’s public buildings have been vanishing since the passage of a 2013 open-carry law, and so far no city or county has been willing to go to court to keep a gun-free zone in place.
“No-guns” signs have come down in airport lobbies, libraries and public parks across the state after gun-rights activists filed complaints with Attorney General Luther Strange over the past year.
So far, Strange hasn’t had to sue a single city to get the signs down.
“As noted in each case, the Attorney General’s office did not have to take legal action because either the party was already in compliance with state law or subsequently agreed to be in compliance with state law,” Strange’s spokesman Mike Lewis wrote in an email Monday.
For decades, Alabama residents faced a likelihood of arrest if they left their own property wearing a visible, holstered handgun. Some could carry a concealed weapon, but only with a permit from the sheriff.
A 2013 law changed that, opening most public property to people who openly carry firearms. Carrying a pistol on private property is still illegal, if the property owner gives notice that guns are banned on site.
In the wake of the law’s passage, members of the gun-rights group Bama Carry filed complaints with the attorney general’s office in cities across the state. In most cases, gun prohibitions were lifted after the attorney general intervened. In a few instances — such as county administrative buildings with a courthouse function — exceptions in the law allowed public buildings to remain as gun-free zones.
Strange’s Montgomery office is one of those exceptions. The Anniston Star reported on Sunday that signs prohibiting guns appear on the doors of the attorney general’s office. Officials in Strange’s office didn’t reply to questions about that sign by press time Sunday, but Lewis on Monday said in an email the office is off-limits for guns because it “houses law enforcement personnel and is a secure access facility.”
Prisons, jails, halfway houses, courthouses, and mental health facilities are among some of the other facilities where local governments can still ban guns, according to a chapter of the gun law cited by Lewis.
Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.