Guns at the polls

In last month's primary elections, two individuals in two different counties attempted to bring a firearm into a polling place. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was asked to issue an advisory opinion about what is and isn't legal prior to next week's runoff election.

Strange says state law does not give a county commission the authority to ban weapons at polling places. But there are exceptions as to where a weapon can be carried.

Strange says churches constitute private property. He says according to Alabama Code, a{}person may not carry a pistol onto private property unless that person has a valid concealed weapon permit or the consent of the owner on the premises. However, private buildings may still prohibit guns even if a person does have a concealed weapons permit. The prohibition applies even when the private property has been put to public use. State and federal laws that ban weapons in some public buildings still apply even if the building is a polling place. Those buildings include schools, law enforcement stations and courthouses. Ultimately, strange says whether firearms are prohibited in polling places depends on the nature of the location.