ATF determines AL carry license qualifies as NICS exception

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued an open letter to Alabama federal firearms licensees last Wednesday alerting them to changes to their state’s background check requirements for firearm purchases.

According to the letter, the ATF has determined that Alabama’s permit to allow gun owners to carry a firearm in their vehicle or concealed on their person qualifies as an alternative to federal firearm purchase background check requirements. However, the exception only applies to permits issued on or after Aug. 1, 2013.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which took effect at the end of 1998, requires federal firearms licensees to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System background check prior to transferring a firearm to a non-licensed person.

But the Brady Act does include exceptions to the background check requirement — including an exception for concealed carry permit-holders in certain states, provided that a permit was issued in the five years prior to the transfer, as well as that the issuing state conducts a NICS background check before issuing its permits. Other requirements may need to be satisfied as well.

Anyone using the permit alternative to transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person must have the transferee complete and sign the ATF’s firearm transaction record; verify the transferee’s identity through a government issued ID; verify the permit was issued on or after the qualifying date and within five years of the transfer; and provide a copy of the permit information with the ATF form.

The letter urges anyone with questions related to the changes to call the ATF’s Firearms Industry Programs Branch at 202-648-7190.

Alabama concealed carry permits are issued to state residents 18 years of age or older, and can cost between $5 and $20 — depending on the issuing county. The application processing time can take up to 30 days.