Ala. lawmakers set up program for sheriff’s office amid pistol permit decline

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:20 PM CST
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ALABAMA (WTVM) - As of January 1, a new Alabama law allows people to carry concealed handguns without a permit.

The new law cuts out the county sheriff as a middle man and provisions meant to lessen the blow for sheriff’s offices may not be enough to make up expected losses in the budget.

The Alabama legislature has set up a grant program to help replace that money being lost by permit sales, but those grants are not permanent.

Plus, there are some significant changes that county officials hope to change in the upcoming legislative sessions that will allow sheriff offices to receive an amount to help with their services needed within the department.

A money-making service for Alabama sheriff’s offices is no longer needed thanks to the state’s permitless carry law... signed last year by Governor Kay Ivey... and effective January first.

“Pistol permit revenue in Alabama has plummeted 30-40 percent in some areas,” said Executive Director of the Association of County Commission of Alabama, Sonny Brasfield.

The Alabama legislature has now set up a grant program to help counties with that revenue loss, but it most likely will not cover the total amount budgeted in state sheriff’s offices.

Executive Director of the Association of County Commission of Alabama, Sonny Brasfield, said for sheriffs to receive a grant, they must show a loss in revenue from the permit fees the law set that baseline in the year 2022 when permit sales were already decreasing after the law was signed, which will make that grant total smaller for sheriffs.

“We will be asking the legislator to go back and utilize 2021 as the base year and then use those numbers to make the counties whole going forward,” said Brasfield.

The pistol permit revenue is a small amount in a sheriff’s budget but having that money means purchasing equipment, providing training programs or even sometimes vehicles.

Brasfield said the legislative session begins in March, and they are working on a bill to address two major concerns. One is changing the baseline year to 2021. Two making the grant program permanent in the current law, it goes away after three years.

“We’re not certain the law appropriates enough money to make everybody whole, and we certainly don’t want to see this revenue go down. Those will be the three major things we’ll be asking the legislator to do,” said Brasfield.