The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office Spent $623,000 Last Year Due To The Pistol Permit Statute, According To The Sheriff


MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) – Fees to sheriff’s offices around the state dropped dramatically in 2023 when firearm permits became voluntary.

The Alabama Legislature established a system to reimburse sheriffs for part of their losses, but Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch claims it is insufficient to make up the difference. He informed Fox10 News that he had just gotten the final amount for the department’s loss in 2023, which was slightly more than $623,000.

Burch stated that the agency has been obliged to seek the Mobile County Commission to compensate for the loss of funds needed to pay for training and equipment.

“County Commission’s been great to us with the funding,” he told reporters. “However, they must support numerous departments in addition to the Sheriff’s Office. And, you know, it’s debilitating from an operational perspective.”

The 2022 bill passed by the Legislature went into effect on January 1 of last year. Lawmakers claimed that citizens should not have to pay to use their Second Amendment rights. Some people still get handgun licenses and pay the charge to carry concealed firearms in other states. However, many people do not.

According to the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, this has resulted in a net loss for sheriff’s offices of $15 million to $16 million.

“It impacted all 67 counties. “I make a significant impact,” said Jimmy Lambert, the association’s executive director.

Lambert stated that the impact has been considerably larger on rural sheriffs, where a $40,000 loss can mean the difference between success and failure.

Lambert stated that it had an indirect influence on staffing in certain areas, since sheriffs had to draw money from their general coffers to offset expenses formerly paid for by pistol permit fees. He pointed at Choctaw County Sheriff Scott Lolley.

“The sheriff himself was having to do a majority of the patrolling because he did not have the funding to hire a deputy,” he told reporters.

Lambert said that larger sheriff’s offices have loaned radios to departments in tiny, rural counties to help them communicate.

There is pending legislation that would provide more funding for expenses that gun permit fees have typically paid for.

  • HB 255 would impose a $50 fee per document on private corporations who serve court papers through sheriff’s departments.
  • HB256 would boost the sum sheriffs receive from the state government for extraditing out-of-state convicts from $8 to $100 per day. It would also enhance the mileage reimbursement rate, which is presently 10 cents per mile, to match the rate paid to government
  • Employees who drive their own vehicles. That is based on an IRS-determined tax deduction value, which is now 65.5 cents per mile.

HB274 proposes increasing the state jail food payment from $2.25 to $3.25 per day each prisoner.
Lambert stated that they would help but not make up the difference.

“In some areas, you either have layoffs or you’re at a point where you’re not able to hire a deputy to come on,” he told me. “Or your salary simply cannot be at the levels they were because the counties are now trying to help the sheriff backfill as much as possible. However, the financing remains insufficient to replace what they have lost.”

Burch expressed sympathy for some of his peers in different sections of the state.

“We were fortunate to have a small surplus, which has now been depleted. However, smaller agencies across the state have had to lay off employees.” It’s quite bad because it impacts those communities.

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