State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) has pre-filed a bill to create criminal punishments for failing to declare the presence of a weapon to law enforcement.
In 2022, House Bill 272 (HB272) by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R–Citronelle) became the spearhead bill for permitless carry in Alabama. It was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in March 2022 and went into effect on January 1.
The 2022 law allows a person to lawfully carry a firearm concealed on their person without having to purchase a permit. It also created an obligation for a citizen to inform a law enforcement officer of the presence of a firearm on their person or in their vehicle only when asked, often called a "duty to declare." However, the bill did not provide any penalties for lying to an officer or refusing to declare.
England's bill, House Bill 20 (HB20), seeks to close what he sees as a loophole in the law, having previously stated that the duty to declare section is virtually unenforceable without a criminal penalty. England filed a similar bill during last year's legislative session, which failed to advance in committee.
The bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to not inform an officer of the presence of a c concealed weapon when asked. Law enforcement must ask a person before they would be legally obligated to respond. The law does not compel anyone to admit to the presence of a firearm without first being questioned by police.
Class A misdemeanors are the most severe form of non-felony criminal charges. Anyone convicted could receive a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.
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