Adair said many portions of the law didn’t change, especially in relation to the open carry portion of the law, because Alabama residents always had the right to carry weapons openly in public. The new law also consolidated all the state’s gun laws in one law, rather than leaving them scattered throughout the code.
Adair cautioned the business owners that the new law had not been tried in court, so the information he was presenting was his interpretation of the law.
He said the new law gives Alabamians the right to carry a pistol onto another person’s property if they either have a permit or have permission from that property owner.
Adair said that was a very clear limit for homes, where no one has a right to bring a weapon if the homeowner doesn’t give explicit permission, but the lines blur for businesses because they are inviting the public onto the property.
“My opinion is that a store owner, if you post a notice that nobody should come into your store armed, then you may have a situation where you can keep them out, possible,” Adair said. “It also may give law enforcement, when you call them, to say ‘look, you’re going to be charged with criminal trespassing if you don’t get out.’”
Adair also discussed the circumstances, set out by law, that allow an owner to absolutely prohibit guns, such as if the business is equipped with a security system or security guards, but said that it isn’t clear if that is the only time owners can prohibit permitted gun owners to carry onto the business.
He reiterated that it was just his opinion, but he believes that any business owner who does not want guns in their place of business, then that is their right.
“I think if you post the sign, that enables you to say ‘I’m not allowing somebody to come onto my property in possession of a gun,’” Adair said.
One of the biggest changes to the law is that employers can no longer prohibit employees from keeping a gun in their vehicle on company property.
The gun must be out of sight and can still be prohibited in company vehicles or from being accessed while an employee is working.
Adair also addressed his intentions to start a “Major Crime Unit” for the county. He said the unit would cover the entire county with trained investigators.
He said he believes this would be of assistance for large municipalities, but would be critical for unincorporated areas or smaller municipalities. Tuscaloosa and Marshall counties both have similar units.