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Decline in purchases of pistol permits impacting sheriff's offices' revenue

WBMA Birmingham 9/14/2022 Valerie Bell
© Provided by WBMA Birmingham

Starting January 1, 2023, Alabama residents will no longer be required to have a pistol permit to carry a weapon concealed in Alabama. Since the announcement, there has been a decline in people buying permits.

Those permits brought in revenue to sheriff's offices across the state. Some sheriff's offices have already seen a significant drop in revenue.

Caption: Decline in purchases of pistol permits impacting sheriff's offices' revenue (abc3340.com)

“This is a great loss for the sheriff's office," said TJ Armstrong, the public information officer at the Walker County Sheriff's Office.  “We normally see anywhere from 12 to 15,000 a month come in from pistol permits, last month we were somewhere around $6,400, so we have definitely seen a decrease.”

The revenue goes towards helping the sheriff's office with a variety of things.

“That’s money on top of the budget from the county commission. It allows us to buy equipment, to buy uniforms, do special projects and get the department up to speed technology wise that otherwise we wouldn't have the money to do," Armstrong explained.

Moving forward, Armstrong said it is still being determined how the sheriff's office will make up that funding.

“I do know the state is talking about things as a whole that may provide some resolution to replace some of those funds that are going to be depleted, but I'm really not sure what's in the works with that," said Armstrong.

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Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has also seen a decline of about 35-50%.

“We call it our discretionary money, because by law it has to be audited money, it's just like tax payer money so we treat it as part of the budget," said Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego. 

Samaniego said they are blessed by the county commission with funds, but will cut back in certain areas.

"Right now we really do enjoy being able to train every deputy, although we give them 50 hours of in service, we give them opportunities away from the agency to train with other training vendors and it includes travel and stuff like that, so that budget is going to have to be scrutinized. we aren't going to be able to spend as much money in that area," said Samaniego. “I'm sure if we get to the point where we need that money, I’m sure we can petition the commission and they will help us with whatever project we need, but right now I don’t anticipate any problems, but it's all new.”

Samaniego said he sees it being more of an issue in rural counties in the state. 

“They weren’t getting that much income to start with. All their programs are going to be canceled and quite honestly, some sheriffs rely on their discretionary money to pay for food for their inmates," said Samaniego.

If your pistol permit expires between now and January 1, it still needs to be renewed. A permit is also still needed after the law goes into effect to carry a gun across certain state lines. 

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