The cost of permitless carry: Alabama Sheriffs’ offices losing revenue due to loss of permit sales

Last year, Alabama repealed the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun in public without a permit with background check. The new “permitless carry” rule went into effect Jan. 1 for anyone over 18 who has not been prohibited from owning or carrying a firearm. Alabamians can now carry a handgun in the state without a permit, background check, or even any training. Permits will still be issued – for instance, if someone needs to carry their firearm over state lines, they will need a permit to do so lawfully.

Lost Revenue

The other side of the coin is that the Sheriff’s Office will be losing significant revenue. “From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2021, and those same exact dates of 2022, so in just those three months, we’re looking at $16,500 in lost revenue,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said. “The pistol permit generates for us, in this county, about $170,000-180,000 a year.” He added that the loss is not that total amount because there are still some people who are buying permits for travel. A permit is required from the home county to carry a handgun while traveling interstate. But the office is looking at a predicted loss of approximately $60,000 for the year.

“Do I think we are going to lose the permits altogether? No,” Sheriff Taylor said. “But I do think it’s going to be a drastic drop. It equates to the commission having to cover, potentially, those drops. I use the money for equipment, for training, for vehicles, things we supplement the commission giving us. Ninety-percent of the trainings that deputies get come from the pistol permit (revenue). I would say probably 90 percent of our equipment probably comes from pistol permit (revenue). So, it has a huge purpose in training and education and buying things the deputies have to have to do this job.”

The Sheriff’s Office has applied to receive part of the $5 million grant offered by the state to help cover losses, but that grant is only a temporary measure.

Alabama Sheriff’s Association and Consequences

The Alabama Sheriff’s Association and others have voiced their opposition to the bill’s passage. Some bill proponents have said that those opposing the bill are against the 2nd Amendment.

“I’m pro-2nd Amendment; however, with that being said, I’m still in favor of somebody looking at a person’s criminal and mental history before we say they can carry guns outside their home and into the public,” Sheriff Taylor said. “I’m just a firm believer that we’re going to see an increase in shootings because the people who have tried to get a permit for a long time and could not because of mental issues are going to be able to put that gun in their car and nobody is going to stop them, and it’s not going to be a crime, if they get caught. There’s no consequences.” Sheriff Taylor said there is a big discrepancy in what the ASA says and what the NRA says when it comes to those states who decided to drop permitless carry.

“What we researched and showed was that the majority of the states who went against and dropped this had an increase in crime and violence because nobody was watching who was carrying weapons,” Sheriff Taylor said. “The NRA shows their stats that say that’s not the case, and that there was not an increase in gun violence. The Sheriff’s Association disagreed with that.”


The Senate did amend the original bill to require motorists carrying a pistol to inform the officer, during a traffic stop, and they will be prohibited from touching the weapon with the officer present. Now, if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver has committed a crime, is in the process of committing a crime, or that the gun is a danger to the officer and the public, the officer can then run a background check on the motorist.

“One of the things permits did, is it allowed you to see who is asking for a permit, who got turned down…because it tracks that…now, we’re not going to be able to do that.”

People purchasing handguns still have to pass the federal NICS and background checks.

NRA Rebuttal

In a statement last year, NRA representative Lars Dalseide said, “The Alabama Sheriff’s Association is either engaged in a deliberate campaign to mislead or simply hasn’t read the bill. Constitutional carry only allows people who are legally allowed to possess a handgun to carry that handgun for self-protection. Prohibited persons are not allowed to possess firearms - period. We live in a dangerous world, and self-defense situations can arise anywhere without warning. State lawmakers must not stand in the way of their citizens and the ability to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

Academic Perspective

A 2020 study from the Crime and Justice Research Alliance conducted by Emma Fridel, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University found that such laws, like permitless carry, significantly increase the rate of firearm homicides by as much as 11 percent. She called the national trend for more permissive concealed carry laws “deeply troubling,” and said “Permissive concealed carry legislation (permitless carry) is a significant contributor to our nation’s gun violence epidemic. You can find more information on this study at

Sheriff Heath Taylor’s Advice

“If you still need a permit to travel, there’s still several options for you. You can get a one-year ($20), a five-year ($100), or a lifetime permit ($300 - $150 for 65 and older). You can’t get two-three or four no more, but you can still get a permit.”

Staff Writer

Toni Shah is an award-winning local news reporter. She covers city and county government meetings, but also enjoys writing profile pieces. She has been with The Citizen since 2018.