The National Rifle Association is pushing for what they say is fairer costs in concealed carry weapons permits. Depending on where you live–you could pay anywhere from $37.50 to $125 for a five-year pistol permit. There’s generally a steady stream of people on any given weekday at the Mobile County Sheriff’s office building for pistol permit registration. The NRA asked members to contact their legislators last week on this issue. I asked for their data and they gave it to me. A spokesman said they contacted every sheriff’s office in the state to get the cost of a yearly pistol permit and what it costs for five years. In my analysis, I did not include discounts for senior citizens or discounts for getting paper permits versus laminated ones. My analysis focused strictly on the question of how expensive could a pistol permit be in any given county.
According to their data, a vast majority of counties charge $100 for a five-year permit. At least, 46 out of 67 counties do. Some are slightly higher than $100. Baldwin County is one of five counties charging $125 for a five-year permit.
Alabama’s largest county has the smallest cost for a five-year pistol permit. Jefferson County charges less than 40 bucks. It’s a grand total of $37.50 if you buy a five-year permit. An NRA spokesman argues there shouldn’t be a difference of more than $80 for a pistol permit depending on where you live.
“The NRA thinks that’s wrong,” said spokesman Catherin Mortensen. I spoke with her Friday. “The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and we don’t see why people should have to pay different amounts.” The NRA supports Senate Bill 304. If signed into law anyone in the state could apply for a pistol permit in any county not just their home county.
“Each sheriff’s department will get a notification that someone in their county has sought a permit, so they’ll be duly notified, they’ll be aware,” said Mortensen. It’s hard to say why there is a huge gap between what some counties charge for pistol permits. The NRA argues the right price should be what it costs to administer the program and not use it as a revenue generator.
A spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said their sheriff believes in the second amendment so much they’re willing to run the permitting process at a loss. I’ve also reached out to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office on this issue but I was unable to arrange an interview yet. When we get more comment we’ll update this story.
Here’s more from the dataset. Like I said earlier most counties, 69%, charge $100 for a five-year permit. Here are the five counties charging more than that at $125:
Here are the counties charging less than $100 for a five-year pistol permit:
St. Clair County
Again, my analysis did not factor in discounts for seniors. These vary. Only six counties offer some sort of discount for people at retirement age. Baldwin offers a $5 discount per year if you’re over 65. With the senior discount factored in DeKalb County is simultaneously one of the most expensive and lease expensive on the list. DeKalb is one of the five counties charging $125 for a five-year pistol permit. At the same time, DeKalb offers the deepest senior discount. For people 66 and above the cost of a pistol permit is just a dollar a year. That brings the cost of a five-year pistol permit down to a measly $5. The closest is Cleburne County. They charge $5 per year for seniors bringing the grand total to $25 for a five-year permit.