Gun laws in Arizona

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Location of Arizona in the United States

Firearm laws in Arizona regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Arizona in the United States.

Summary[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No None No
Firearm registration required? Partial Partial ARS 13-3101(B) State law duplicates some of the registration requirements of the National Firearms Act.
"Assault weapon" prohibition or restrictions? No No None No
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No
Owner license required? No No None No
Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permits issued? Yes Yes ARS 13-3112
ARS 13-3102
In Arizona, a person over age 21 may legally carry a concealed firearm or deadly weapon without a permit within the state, except for certain prohibited locations, and must disclose the fact to a law enforcement officer if questioned. Although no longer required, a CCW permit may still be obtained and has certain advantages, including reciprocity with many other states having CCW laws.
Open carry allowed? Yes Yes May carry openly without permit/license.
State preemption of local restrictions? Partial Partial ARS 13-3108 Explained below
NFA weapons restricted? No No ARS 13-3101 Automatic weapons, short barreled rifles/ shotguns, and sound suppressors are legal as long as they are registered with the NFA and are in compliance with federal law.
Peaceable journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.

Arizona gun laws are found mostly in Title 13, Chapter 31 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.[1] There is no registration or licensing of non-NFA firearms in Arizona. In fact, Section 13-3108 subsection B prohibits any political subdivision of the state from enacting any laws requiring licensing or registration.[2] According to state law, a person must be 18 years of age to purchase any non-NFA firearm from any source; however, there is a federal age limit of 21 years on handgun purchases from federal firearms licensees.

Open carry[edit]

On foot, any adult person who is not a "prohibited possessor"[3] may openly carry a loaded firearm visible to others. Generally, a person must be at least 18 years of age to possess or openly carry a firearm. However, this does not apply to:

  1. Juveniles within a private residence.
  2. Emancipated juveniles.
  3. Juveniles accompanied by a parent, grandparent or guardian, or a certified hunter safety instructor or certified firearms safety instructor acting with the consent of the juvenile's parent or guardian.
  4. Juveniles on private property owned or leased by the juvenile or the juvenile's parent, grandparent, or guardian.
  5. Juveniles fourteen years of age and up engaged in any of the following activities:
  • Lawful hunting or shooting events or marksmanship practice at established ranges or other areas where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited.
  • Lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm for lawful hunting.
  • Lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for shooting events or marksmanship practice at established ranges or other areas where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited.
  • Activities that require a firearm related to the production of crops, livestock, poultry, livestock products, poultry products, or ratites or in the production or storage of agricultural commodities.[4]

The law does not expressly require openly carried weapons to be in a holster, case or scabbard; however, the open carrying of weapons not in a holster, case or scabbard while on foot in a populated area could be construed as reckless display or, if others feel threatened by such, even assault with a deadly weapon.

In a vehicle, any adult person who is not a prohibited possessor may openly carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle whether in a holster, case, compartment, or in plain view. Persons under 21 may openly carry a loaded or unloaded firearm in a vehicle only if it is in plain view, i.e. discernible from the ordinary observation of a person located outside and within the immediate vicinity of the vehicle.

Concealed carry[edit]

Arizona residents at least 21 years old can carry a concealed weapon without a permit as of July 29, 2010.[5] Arizona is only the third state in modern U.S. history (after Vermont and Alaska) to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit, and it is the first state with a large urban population to do so.[6]

Arizona is classified as a "shall issue" state. Even though Arizona law allows concealed carry by adults without permit, concealed carry permits are still available and issued by the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit of the Arizona Department of Public Safety for purposes of reciprocity with other states or for carrying firearms in certain regulated places. Requirements for issuance include taking a training class (provided by a licensed third party) or hunter education class, submitting a finger print card, and paying a $60 fee. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age. New permits are valid for five years. Permits issued before August 12, 2005 are valid for four years.[7] Renewing a permit requires only an application and finger print card. However, effective December 31, 2007 the finger print card requirement for renewal is scheduled to end.[8] Arizona recognizes almost all valid out-of-state carry permits, with few exceptions.[9]

State preemption[edit]

The Arizona legislature has largely preempted political subdivisions (counties, cities) from passing their own firearms laws. Political subdivisions may regulate the carrying of weapons by juveniles or by their own employees or contractors when such employees or contractors are acting within the course and scope of their employment or contract. They may also bar the carrying of weapons at public establishments and events by those who do not have concealed carry permits. Public establishments and events where carry by non-permit holders is prohibited must provide secure storage for weapons on-site, which must be readily accessible upon entry and allow for immediate retrieval upon exit.[10]

Tribal Law[edit]

Native American reservations, which comprise over a quarter of the land area of the state,[11] may have gun laws identical to or more restrictive than state law.[12][13] Some tribal governments in Arizona may not recognize Arizona law on the concealed carrying of firearms without a permit while on tribal land.[13]

All Arizona tribes recognize federal law, including the "safe passage" provision of the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act Act (FOPA). FOPA provides that, notwithstanding any state, tribal, or local law, and while making a continuous journey, a person who is not a prohibited possessor is entitled to transport a firearm or ammunition for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm or ammunition if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle.[14] In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm or ammunition must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.[14] Recent U.S. Court of Appellate rulings have confirmed that FOPA`s protections only apply to unloaded firearms not readily accessible to the traveler, and many tribal governments have strict laws with respect to firearms being carried or transported on tribal lands.[14][15][15][16] For example, in the event of a vehicle stop, Navajo Nation police will seize any loaded firearm found to be accessible to the driver or passenger.[15][16][17] and confiscated firearms are not returnable unless the owner can establish proof of ownership of the firearm and ammunition by presenting a bill of sale or other evidence at the police station at a later date.[17]

Discharging a firearm[edit]

It is generally illegal to discharge a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality. However, this prohibition does not apply to persons discharging firearms in the following circumstances:

  • On a properly supervised range.
  • In an area recommended as a hunting area by the Arizona game and fish department, approved and posted as required by the chief of police (Any such area may be closed when deemed unsafe by the chief of police or the director of the Arizona game and fish department.)
  • For the control of nuisance wildlife by permit from the Arizona game and fish department or the United States fish and wildlife service.
  • By special permit of the chief of police of the municipality.
  • As required by an animal control officer in the performance of duties.
  • Firing blank cartridges.
  • More than one fourth mile from any occupied structure.
  • In self-defense, or defense of another person against an animal attack if a reasonable person would believe deadly physical force against the animal is immediately necessary and reasonable under the circumstances to protect a person from harm.
  • In self-defense or, in defense of another person against a criminal attack as permitted by the laws regarding defensive use of force.[18]

While discharging a firearm using blanks within the limits of a municipality is not expressly prohibited by law, disturbing the peace (ARS 13-2904) or other charges could still apply.[19]

Prohibited areas[edit]

State law prohibits the carrying of firearms in certain areas. These prohibited areas include:

  • Hydroelectric or nuclear power generating stations. However, this does not apply to:
  • A peace officer or any person summoned by any peace officer to assist and while actually assisting in the performance of official duties.
  • A member of the military forces of the United States or of any state of the United States in the performance of official duties.
  • A warden, deputy warden, community correctional officer, detention officer, special investigator or correctional officer of the state department of corrections or the department of juvenile corrections.
  • A person specifically licensed, authorized or permitted pursuant to an Arizona or federal statute.
  • Polling places on election day. However, this does not apply to:
  • A peace officer or any person summoned by any peace officer to assist and while actually assisting in the performance of official duties.
  • A member of the military forces of the United States or of any state of the United States in the performance of official duties.
  • A warden, deputy warden, community correctional officer, detention officer, special investigator or correctional officer of the state department of corrections or the department of juvenile corrections.
  • A person specifically licensed, authorized or permitted pursuant to an Arizona or federal statute.
  • Secured areas of airports. However, this does not apply to:
  • General aviation areas not included in the security identification display area or sterile area as defined in the airport security program approved by the transportation security administration.
  • The lawful transportation of deadly weapons in accordance with state and federal law.
  • A peace officer or a federally sworn officer while in the actual performance of the officer's duties.
  • A member of the military forces of the United States or of any state of the United States in the actual performance of the member's official duties.
  • An individual who is authorized by a federal agency in the actual performance of the individual's official duties.
  • Inside a jail or on the grounds thereof.
  • K-12 School grounds. However, this does not apply to:
  • Firearms possessed for the purposes of preparing for, conducting or participating in hunter or firearm safety courses.
  • Firearms for use on the school grounds in a program approved by the school.
  • Unloaded firearms carried inside a means of transportation and under the control of an adult, provided that if the adult leaves the means of transportation, it is locked and the firearms are not visible from the outside.
  • A peace officer or any person summoned by any peace officer to assist and while actually assisting in the performance of official duties.
  • A member of the military forces of the United States or of any state of the United States in the performance of official duties.
  • A warden, deputy warden, community correctional officer, detention officer, special investigator or correctional officer of the state department of corrections or the department of juvenile corrections.
  • A person specifically licensed, authorized or permitted pursuant to an Arizona or federal statute.
  • Establishments which are licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. However, this does not apply to:
  • The licensee or an employee of the licensee acting with the permission of the licensee to be in possession of a firearm while on the licensed premises.
  • A person who is on the premises for a limited time to seek emergency aid, if such person does not buy, receive, consume, or possess alcohol while there.
  • Hotel or motel guest room accommodations.
  • The exhibition or display of a firearm in conjunction with a meeting, show, class or similar event.
  • A person with a concealed carry permit who carries a concealed handgun, provided that there is no notice posted forbidding such, and provided that the concealed carry permit holder consumes no alcohol while on the premises.
  • Peace officers or members of a sheriff's volunteer posse while on duty who have received firearms training that is approved by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training board.
  • Any private property or private establishment where the owner or any other person having lawful control over the property has given reasonable notice forbidding the carrying of deadly weapons or firearms. However, this does not apply to:
  • Officers of the law who are legally executing official duties
  • Lawfully possessed firearms that are in a locked and privately owned vehicle or in a locked compartment on a privately owned motorcycle and that are not visible from outside the vehicle or motorcycle.
  • Any public college or university where the carrying of deadly weapons or firearms has been prohibited by the governing board
  • On the grounds of or in a secure care facility under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections
  • In a correctional facility or the grounds of a correctional facility

In addition, political subdivisions have limited power to prohibit the carrying of firearms in certain areas as described above. Carrying a firearm at a jail, correctional facility, juvenile secure care facility, or in a hydroelectric or nuclear power generating station is a felony. Carrying a firearm in any other prohibited area, absent any other concomitant criminal conduct, is a misdemeanor. Carrying a firearm on private property or in a private establishment where it has been forbidden by the owner or another person having lawful control over the property is not expressly prohibited by law, but is held to constitute misdemeanor trespass.[20] Carrying a firearm at a public college or university where it has been prohibited by the governing board is not expressly prohibited by law, but is held to violate provisions of ARS 13-2911, which prohibits "interference with or disruption of an educational institution". The restrictions pertaining to licensed liquor establishments do not apply to liquor stores or other stores that sell only closed containers of alcohol for consumption off the premises.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Prohibited possessors[edit]

State law prohibits the possession of firearms and other deadly weapons by certain categories of "prohibited possessors". According to current statute, these categories are defined as follows:

  • Anyone who has been found to constitute a danger to self or to others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order under ARS 36-540, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored pursuant to ARS 13-925.
  • Anyone convicted of a felony, or who has been adjudicated delinquent for a felony, and whose State civil right to possess or carry a gun or firearm has not been restored by separate order of the court.
  • Anyone who has been found incompetent to stand trial and who has not subsequently been found competent.
  • Anyone who has been guilty except insane of committing a crime
  • Anyone who is, at the time of possession, serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility.
  • Anyone who is, 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 other basis, or who is serving a term of probation or parole pursuant to an interstate compact.
  • Anyone who is an undocumented alien or a nonimmigrant alien, traveling with or without documentation for business or pleasure, or who is studying in Arizona and maintains a foreign residence, except for:
  • Nonimmigrant aliens who possess a valid hunting license or permit lawfully issued by a state in the United States.
  • Nonimmigrant aliens who enter the United States to participate in a competitive target shooting event or to display firearms at a sports or hunting trade show sponsored by a national, state, or local firearms trade organization devoted to competitive or sporting use of firearms.
  • Certain diplomats.
  • Officials of foreign governments or distinguished foreign visitors who are designated by the United States department of state.
  • Persons who have received a waiver from the United States attorney general.[28]

Notably, the prohibition against owning a firearm by a person found to be a danger to himself or others or persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled continues in effect even after the expiration of the mental health court order itself (365 days). Instead, a person whose right to possess a firearm was forfeited as part of a mental health order must have that right judicially restored by filing a petition with the court requesting a hearing and a court order restoring the right to possess a firearm.[29]

Arizona appellate courts have ruled that ARS 1-244 bars the retroactive application of changes to the prohibited possessor statute unless there is an express legislative declaration of retroactive intent.[30] Although the statute has been amended numerous times during its history, no such retroactive declarations have ever been passed into law. Thus, the possession of deadly weapons by some individuals may be governed by older versions of the statute which are either more or less restrictive than the one currently in force. For example, persons found to constitute a danger to self or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled prior to September 30, 2009 do not need to petition the courts for a restoration of rights, as statutes in effect prior to that date either did not prohibit their possession of deadly weapons or prohibited such possession only temporarily, during their term of court-ordered treatment.

Prohibited weapons[edit]

State law prohibits the possession certain types of firearms and other deadly weapons by any citizen. These weapons are defined as follows:

  • An item that is a bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces or mine and that is explosive, incendiary or poison gas, or any combination of parts or materials that is designed and intended for use in making such or converting a device into such, unless it has been classified as a "curio or relic" under federal law, or is registered under the federal National Firearms Act.
  • A device that is designed, made or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm, unless it has been classified as a "curio or relic" under federal law, or is registered under the federal National Firearms Act.
  • A firearm that is capable of shooting more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger, unless it is has been classified as a "curio or relic" under federal law, or is registered under the federal National Firearms Act.
  • A rifle with a barrel length of less than sixteen inches, or a shotgun with a barrel length of less than eighteen inches, or any firearm that is made from a rifle or shotgun and that, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches, unless it is has been classified as a "curio or relic" under federal law, or is registered under the federal National Firearms Act.
  • An instrument, including a nunchaku, that consists of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire or chain, in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense.
  • A breakable container that contains a flammable liquid with a flash point of one hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit or less and that has a wick or similar device capable of being ignited, or any combination of parts or materials that is designed and intended for use in making such or converting a device into such.
  • A chemical or combination of chemicals, compounds or materials, including dry ice, that is possessed or manufactured for the purpose of generating a gas to cause a mechanical failure, rupture or bursting or an explosion or detonation of the chemical or combination of chemicals, compounds or materials.
  • An improvised explosive device, or any combination of parts or materials that is designed and intended for use in making such or converting a device into such.[31]

Regarding Police contact[edit]

  • If a law enforcement officer contacts a person who is in possession of a firearm, the law enforcement officer may take temporary custody of the firearm for the duration of that contact.[32]
  • Any person with a concealed carry permit issued under 13-3112 is required to present the permit for inspection to any law enforcement officer on request.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 — Criminal Code
  2. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3108
  3. ^ 'ARS 13-3101', retrieved 22 May 2012
  4. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3111
  5. ^ [1], retrieved, 22 May 2012
  6. ^ Arizona Legalizes Concealed Carry without Permit
  7. ^ Arizona Concealed Weapons Permit Unit - Obtaining a Permit
  8. ^ Arizona Concealed Weapons Permit Unit - FAQ
  9. ^ "AZ CCW Permit Reciprocity" on azccw.com
  10. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3108
  11. ^ See e.g. Navajo Nation, Navajo Nation Government, retrieved 31 October 2011
  12. ^ All about Arizona. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com. Accessed 2010-09-21.
  13. ^ a b Tribal Laws and Concealed Carry, retrieved 31 October 2011: While tribal laws on criminal firearms violations apply only to tribal members who live on reservation lands, they are still used as a guide to enforcement by tribal police for non-tribal members. If you are visitor to a reservation and are carrying a firearm in a manner that would otherwise be legal under Arizona law, such legal possession may not be recognized by tribal law enforcement if it conflicts with tribal law. Instead of arrest, tribal law enforcement will most likely confiscate the firearm and require the owner to go to tribal court to get it back.
  14. ^ a b c Firearm Owners Protection Act, retrieved 31 October 2011
  15. ^ a b c Navajo Nation Hunting and Trapping Information: It is unlawful to possess a firearm with live ammunition in the firing chamber in or on any motor vehicle.."
  16. ^ a b Navajo Nation Criminal Code: Unlawful carrying of deadly weapon T.17 - Section 320(A): Offense. A person commits unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon if he or she carries a loaded firearm or any other type of deadly weapon; (B): Exceptions. Subsection (A) of this section shall not apply to any of the following: ...2. To persons in private motor vehicle or other means of conveyance, for lawful protection of the person's or another's person or property, while traveling and such weapon is located in a closed trunk, luggage, or glove compartment of a motor vehicle
  17. ^ a b National Geographic, Navajo Cops, Season 255, Episode 30, 11 May 2011
  18. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3107
  19. ^ Arizona Gun Owner's Guide - Updates
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3102
  22. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3119
  23. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 4 Section 244
  24. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 31 Section 129
  25. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 31 Section 2911
  26. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 2505
  27. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 2514
  28. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3101
  29. ^ ARS 13-925(C); Arizona Superior Court, Maricopa County, Guidelines for Report of Psychiatrist or Psychologist in Support of Petition for Restoration of Right to Possess Firearms Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-925 (16 June 2011): Significantly, ARS 13-925(C) places the burden of proof on the prohibited possessor (patient) at the restoration hearing to present clear and convincing psychological or psychiatric evidence in support of the petition to restore his/her right to possess a firearm. This would normally require the affidavit and/or testimony of a treating or evaluating psychiatrist or psychologist willing to affirm that the circumstances that led to the original order, adjudication or finding are no longer in effect, that the patient is not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety, and that restoring the patient's right to possess a firearm is not contrary to the public interest.
  30. ^ State v. Griffin (2002)
  31. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3101
  32. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3102 Subsection K
  33. ^ Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 Section 3112 Subsection A