Grants to help Alabama sheriffs make up for lost pistol permit fees

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 12:46 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:18 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Each of Alabama’s 67 county sheriffs is about to start getting payments from a grant based on the amount of money each department collected on pistol permit fees in 2022, according to an announcement made Monday by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Pistol permits have historically made up a significant portion of sheriff’s office funding in Alabama. On Jan. 1, however, a new state law went into effect that allows for anyone 18 or older, who is not prohibited by state or federal law, to carry a concealed pistol without a permit.

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said in December that he was looking at a 60% funding loss on permits, which previously generated more than a half-million dollars in the county budget.

“A couple of core tenants of the Ivey Administration is that we back the blue in the strongest way possible and that we support upholding our citizens’ Second Amendment rights. As we have amended Alabama law to help our gun owners, we also worked to ensure our sheriffs received their critical funds, and I am proud that these grants will do that,” Ivey said. “The Sheriffs’ Grants will provide them with funding for training, equipment and other needs not provided by county commissions in their annual appropriations. We are proud to support the vital work our sheriffs’ departments do on a daily basis.”

The new law includes the grant program, starting with a $5 million allocation to help replace lost pistol permit revenue. Under the Local Government Pistol Permit Revenue Loss Fund, Alabama sheriffs need to show a loss of pistol permit funds based on the 2022 figures.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, or ADECA, will then make the payments to each sheriff’s office based on reports collected by other state agencies.

“ADECA intends to carry out our duties in this matter to ensure that Alabama’s sheriffs’ offices are compensated for their losses based on those shortages provided in the data,” said ADECA Dir. Kenneth Boswell.

The payments will be made quarterly starting with the first quarter of 2023.

Following announcement of the grants, the Alabama Sheriffs Association released a statement thanking the governor and legislature for the program that will “partially fill the substantial void in our funding created by the passage of the permitless carry bill last year.”

The association said it looks forward to working with the governor and lawmakers “in the upcoming legislative session to ensure that these funds are permanently allocated and sufficient to restore our ability to fulfill our sworn duty to protect and serve all of Alabama’s citizens.”

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