Arizona Gun Law: A Quick Guide
Overview of Arizona Gun Laws
Arizona gun laws are based on a conservative interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and allows many freedoms to citizens. The State made the Guns and Ammo: Best States For Gun Owners 2020 (and 2019) list as the top gun-owner friendly state in the US. Arizona offers concealed carry permits on a shall-issue basis for anyone who meets the criteria. Although the permits are often deemed unnecessary, because constitutional carry is observed state-wide (with very few restrictions).
Recent Law Changes
In 2021, Arizona Governor Ducey signed a bill into law that will further protect its citizens gun rights, even if that means protection from the Federal Government. The bill, HB2111, is a “second amendment sanctuary” law that orders state and local law officers not to enforce any potential Federal gun seizure laws. After the 2020 election, many conservative states became wary of any new federal gun control initiatives.
Some officers see the law as arbitrary and unclear, perhaps more of a political statement than a law. In contrast, the law makers see the bill as a way to dampen government control on private citizens. For more, check out this Daily Wire article detailing the bill.
“Section 3. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”
-Arizona State Constitution
Age Limits and Prohibitions
In Arizona, the general age limit for possessing and purchasing a gun is 18 and the age for any kind of conceal carry is 21 years old. There are exceptions to the gun possession age limit. For example, a minor who is supervised by a parent or guardian may, in some instances, handle a weapon.
There are still people in Arizona who may not carry a handgun, no matter their age. A “prohibited possessor” is clearly defined in the law ARS 13-3102, which was updated in 2005. The list is as follows:
1. Found to constitute a danger to self or to others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to a court order under ARS 36-540, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored pursuant to ARS 13-925.
- Convicted of a felony, or 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.
- Serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility.
- Serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence felony or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest, or release on any other basis, or serving a term of parole or probation pursuant to an interstate compact.
- An undocumented alien or non-immigrant alien (including Mexican or Canadian nationals), traveling with or without documentation for business or pleasure, or who is studying in Arizona and maintains a foreign residence, [except for certain exceptions].
ARS Title 13- Arizona Legislature
Background Checks And Sales
In Arizona, Federal Background Checks are not required in private or non-licensed dealers' gun sales. However, federally licensed dealers must adhere to Federal Law and submit background checks. Notably, gun sales to prohibited and underage persons are illegal on a state and federal level. So, in that way, dealers are responsible for screening their own customers.
Red Flag Laws
There are no Red Flag Laws in place in Arizona as of mid-2021. Even though the Governor made a 3rd attempt this year to get the Extreme Risk Protection orders to pass. The bill died on the floor, mainly because a sweeping law that allows for confiscation of weapons with little to no evidence can be easy to abuse. Many Arizona Lawmakers want to see clear provisions to protect citizens from being falsely accused and then they will have more support for such a law.
Self Defense Laws in Arizona
Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine
Arizona Law does not have specific wording to enact Castle Doctrine, but they do clearly define and uphold Stand Your Ground laws. Stand Your Ground is a set of self-defense laws that allow citizens to use deadly force in certain situations. Conversely, Duty to Retreat laws require a person to prove that they were unable to leave the area before using deadly force.
In an Arizona court, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to show that the force was unjustified. Of course, there are situations where using deadly force is never justified, even under Stand Your Ground Laws. In Arizona, these include:
In response to verbal threats only;
Resisting arrest from a law enforcement officer;
When an innocent third person is injured or killed by the defendant's reckless actions;
When the defendant provoked the other person's use of force, UNLESS (1) the defendant withdrew and clearly communicated their intent to withdraw and (2) the other person continued to use unlawful physical force. [source]
Arizona’s Concealed and Open Carry Law
Updates and Changes
In 2010, Arizona became a Constitutional Carry state that allows anyone over the age of 21 to carry a concealed handgun. Arizona offers concealed weapons permits to residents and to any US citizen, as long as they are not prohibited. Requirements include submitting an application, passing a background check, and taking a firearms safety course. Some may see a permit as unnecessary due to the “permit-less” carry laws, but it exempts holders from background checks when purchasing a gun and can have reciprocity in other states.
Open and Constitutional Carry Laws
Arizona does not have any laws restricting the open carry of guns in public. Local governments and cities may still have specific prohibited areas, so be sure to check before walking around with an exposed rifle.
FAQ: Arizona State Gun Laws
Can I Carry a Gun in My Car in Arizona
- Yes, you may conceal and/or carry a loaded gun if you are over the age of 21 and a resident of the state.
- If between the ages of 18 and 21, a person may have a weapon in the vehicle but it must be securely stored if concealed.
- According to Phoenix.gov, open carry applies in vehicles to anyone over the age of 18.
Citizens 18-20 years old may openly carry a loaded firearm on their person while inside their vehicle provided that the firearm or holster in which the firearm is carried is visible. [source]
Are There Any Firearm Restrictions in Arizona?
- Arizona law prohibits the sale or possession of ammunition to anyone under the age of 18 (without parental consent).
- Arizona prohibits the sale, possession and manufacturing of machine guns. Although, fully automatic weapon ownership is legal in the State if it complies with Federal Law.
Federal Code defines a Machine Gun as, “... any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”[source]
I’m from another state, what CCW’s (Concealed Carry Weapons License) will Arizona Honor?
- Arizona honors all other states, districts and territories Concealed Carry Permits.
- The only addendum is that the carrier must be 21 or older to be legal in the State.
*Please be aware that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Also, be sure to consult with an attorney if you have any legal questions.*