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Know Your Rights: An Overview of Gun Laws in Arizona

 Posted on January 22, 2021 in Arizona Gun Laws

Arizona gun law attorneysArizona is one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation, but there are still rules and regulations regarding possession of firearms. The following is a summary of what you need to know about your right to bear arms in the Grand Canyon State.

A person must be at least 18 years old to own a gun in Arizona, unless they have written consent from their parent or legal guardian. There is no law requiring gun owners or purchasers to obtain a license for their gun, nor is there a law requiring firearms to be registered.

Owners and purchasers are not required to report the loss or theft of their guns. But beware—if your firearm was stolen and then used in a crime, law enforcement can link you to that crime if you didn’t report it. Only 11 states require gun owners to report a stolen firearm.

Arizona does not require locking devices (which is any device that blocks the gun’s chamber and prevents it from being discharged) to be included in firearm sales, and there is no law that requires gun owners to use locking devices. Arizona law also does not restrict the possession of large capacity magazines, which generally are magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, but that definition can vary based on the jurisdiction. “Large capacity” also refers to any magazine that is capable of holding more rounds than the standard amount provided by the firearm’s designer.

One of the most important things you should know as a law-abiding gun owner is your right to have a gun on your person, whether it is visible or not. Luckily, Arizona does not have many restrictions for the manner in which you can have a gun in your possession.

Concealed/Open Carry in Arizona

As a “constitutional carry” state, Arizona does not require a permit for concealed carry. Individuals who are 21 years or older and are not prohibited possessors (see below) are allowed to carry a concealed firearm, and visitors of Arizona who meet the same requirements may do so as well.

Having an Arizona Concealed Weapons Permit gives gun owners some additional privileges and allows them to carry a concealed weapon in any state that has a concealed carry reciprocity agreement with Arizona. A reciprocity agreement is formed when a state government acknowledges that they will honor the permits issued by another state. Because Arizona is an open carry state, Arizona will honor concealed carry permits from all 50 states. However, not all states honor permits issued in Arizona.

Federal legislation introduced in the past few years would make all states required to honor the concealed carry permits of other states. Lawmakers argue this would strengthen the Second Amendment, which is the right to bear arms. Opponents say this rule would force states to accept other states’ differing standards for carrying firearms.

If you are pulled over by law enforcement in the state of Arizona, you are required to answer truthfully if an officer asks whether you are carrying a concealed weapon on your person. This requirement varies by state. Some states require you to tell an officer if you have a concealed weapon even if they don’t ask you about it, others do not require you to disclose this information at all. Make sure you are aware of the applicable requirements for any state you travel to. A helpful map can be found here.

There is no Arizona law restricting the open carry of firearms in public. In fact, a 2009 law explicitly authorized the “defensive display of firearms in certain situations,” which the Arizona legislature defines as “when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.”

It’s important to know your responsibilities and rights as a lawful firearm carrier. But it’s also equally important to know where you can and cannot go with a firearm in your possession.

Where You Can and Can’t Have a Gun

Arizona does not allow a person to consume alcohol on the premises of an alcohol licensee business (such as a bar or restaurant) while in possession of a firearm. These types of businesses are allowed to ban the possession of firearms on their premises by posting a clearly visible sign that meets certain requirements. There are additional types of businesses who have this ability, such as hospitals and train stations.

With the exception of peace officers, Arizona law also prohibits possession of a firearm in any election polling place on the day of an election, K-12 school campuses, some college campuses, nuclear and/or hydroelectric generating stations, military installations, national parks, correctional facilities, airports, federal buildings, some Native reservations, and in any establishment that provides a “reasonable request” to temporarily store the weapon in a secure place.

Property owners, tenants, public or private employers, and business entities are not allowed to establish policies that prohibits the lawful transportation or storage of a firearm in a locked motor vehicle or in a locked compartment on a motorcycle, as long as the firearm is not visible from the outside.

It is lawful to discharge a firearm on a properly supervised range, in areas recommended by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, more than one mile away from any occupied structure, in self defense or defense of others against an animal or criminal attack, for the control of nuisance wildlife with a permit, when firing blank cartridges, and a few other specific situations.

Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm is a Class 6 felony, for which a court can sentence you to pay varying fines and fees and serve a mandatory prison sentence ranging from about four months to two years, depending on whether the conviction carries aggravating factors. This range is only for those who do not have any prior felony convictions; if you have a criminal history, the penalties could be much worse.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted jurisdictions to rule on whether face masks interfere with a person’s ability to possess a gun. Arizona law does not prohibit a person from carrying a firearm and wearing a face covering. But if a person commits a crime while armed and their face is covered, this can be an aggravating factor in their criminal charge.

Perhaps most importantly, as a gun owner you should be aware of what actions can cause you to lose your Second Amendment rights. Some may be more obvious than others, but these rules are in place to protect the public from dangerous situations.

Prohibited Possessors

Under statues A.R.S. § 13-3101, 13-3102 & 13-3113, Arizona government prohibits a person from knowingly possessing a firearm if they:

Have been convicted of a felony or have been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to possess or carry a firearm has not been restored.

  • Are at the time of possession serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional detention facility.
  • Are at the time of possession serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence offense or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest or release on any basis.
  • Are an undocumented immigrant traveling in Arizona for business or pleasure or are studying in Arizona and maintain a foreign residence abroad, subject to certain exceptions.
  • Have been found to constitute a danger to themselves or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to a court order, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored.
  • Have been found incompetent and not subsequently found competent.

At The Behan Law Group, we see many instances where a person’s criminal history has prevented them from being able to own a firearm, and sometimes that history dates back years and years. We can help you find the right path to restoring your ability to own a gun.

The ins and outs of this legislation can be confusing, so it’s important to have a qualified lawyer helping you navigate the way. If you are trying to restore your right to possess a firearm, call 520-220-5047 for a free consultation, and let our gun law attorney Michelle Behan, fight for you, too! For more information about your Second Amendment rights, visit tucsongunlaw.com.



Arizona Gun Laws 101, Jessica M. Rosenthal, MS and Jesenia M. Pizarro, PhD

Location Restrictions in Arizona, Giffords Law Center

City of Phoenix Weapons and Firearms FAQ


Arizona Legislature: Felony Sentencing


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