By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Governor Kay Ivey recently signed legislation to make Alabama the 22nd state in the nation to adopt a constitutional carry law that eliminates the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit to lawfully carry a pistol. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
The state’s constitutional carry law was among the topics of discussion last week during the Shooting Sports Showcase at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park. POMA (Professional Outdoor Media Association) and SEOPA (Southeastern Outdoor Press Association) hosted the event at the stellar 500-acre shooting range with Cheaha Mountain as a backdrop.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Captain Marisa Futral, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division Hunter Education Coordinator, helped facilitate the shooting event with numerous firearms manufacturers, distributors, tourism representatives and outdoor media.
Futral said proper training is even more important and increasingly requested by the public because of the continued surge in purchases of firearms used for target shooting, hunting and personal safety.
“More and more people are buying firearms for self defense, and they need a place to shoot, a place where they feel comfortable,” Futral said. “They also learn at a place where they can return to shoot in the future.”
One of the ways that happens is through the WFF’s Firearms 101 – Introduction to Handguns classes that are held at public shooting ranges throughout the state.
At the Firearms 101 events, certified firearms instructors teach students the basics of firearms safety:
- Always treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
- Never allow the muzzle of the firearms to cover anything you are not willing to harm.
- Always keep your trigger finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you have made the conscious decision to fire.
- Always be sure of your target and what is beyond.
The participants learn the fundamentals of operating both a semi-automatic and a revolver. They learn how to load a magazine, insert the magazine into the handgun and manipulate the safety and slide release. Instructors ensure that the students follow all safety procedures and offer tips on the proper grip for best control of the firearm and accuracy. Students also learn malfunction clearance procedures and how to safely store their firearms when not in use.
“At our Firearms 101 events, you get lessons from certified instructors,” Futral said. “Then you can go back to the same range where you learned to shoot that firearm and shoot more on your own or come back to a second class. This class offers one-on-one instruction, not just group instruction, so you get personal time with your own instructor. It’s quite the bargain for the cost of a Wildlife Heritage License.
“All of our feedback from the classes has been positive. Everybody has been very complimentary of the instructors. We’re doing our best to spread out across the state, so we’re partnering with some county sheriffs’ offices. If you haven’t been able to find a class close to you, keep checking back on our website as we add more classes.”