If you already are a gun owner, or if you’re looking to become a gun owner in Arizona, it’s incredibly important that you understand all the Arizona gun laws that could affect you. Having firearm offenses on your record can be devastating in both your professional and personal life. Ensuring that you abide by Arizona law when it comes to guns is the best way to protect yourself against firearm offense charges. If you’re already facing charges for misconduct involving weapons, we strongly recommend speaking with a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer.
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our defense attorneys are committed to exploring all possible avenues in your defense. It can be scary to face being charged with a firearm offense, especially when you didn’t know you were doing anything wrong. Our attorneys are here to ensure that you receive aggressive representation in court, and we will give you the tools you need to fight for your legal rights. To schedule a consultation with attorneys you can trust, please call our Phoenix law office at 602-910-4040 today.
Complete Guide to Gun Laws in Arizona
In this blog, we answer several common questions that relate to many aspects of gun ownership and Arizona law. We cover topics such as concealed carry permits, open carry laws, requirements for gun ownership, and much more. If you violate any of the Arizona Revised Statutes that relate to firearms, you will likely be facing a felony offense.
Harsh penalties come from violating either state or federal law regarding firearms. If you’re facing serious charges, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible.
Relevant Statutes Related to Firearms in Arizona
Whether you want to become a gun owner, or if you already are a gun owner, it’s important to understand the laws that apply to those guns in your state. Below, we list the relevant state laws that govern firearms in Arizona.
- ARS 13-3101: This chapter clearly defines the meaning of the following terms.
- Deadly weapon
- Improvised explosive device
- Occupied structure
- Prohibited possessor
- Prohibited weapon
- ARS 13-3102: This chapter outlines what constitutes misconduct involving weapons. It also outlines the potential charges should anyone violate this part of the criminal code.
- ARS 13-3112: This chapter outlines concealed weapons, qualifications to obtain an Arizona concealed weapons permit, and civil penalties for violating these laws.
Can I Have a Gun in Arizona?
Yes. In fact, Arizona is well-known for having some of the most lenient gun control laws in the nation. Arizona residents have a wide range of firearm types that they can legally own and possess. According to ARS 13-3101, a “firearm” is defined as a pistol, handgun, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or another weapon that uses explosives to expel projectiles.
Arizona does not require citizens to have a license or to register before purchasing or owning a firearm. To purchase a gun from a private citizen, you only need to be 18 years old and not a prohibited possessor. To buy a gun from a federally-licensed dealer, you must be at least 21 years old and not a prohibited possessor.
Requirements to Buy a Gun in AZ
The requirements for buying a gun are not as stringent as those in other states. In Arizona, you must be 18 years old to buy a gun in a private sale. To buy a gun from a licensed dealer, you must be at least 21 years old. You do not need to obtain a permit or register the gun after you buy it.
Do I Need to Pass a Background Check to Buy a Gun?
It depends. If you are buying a gun in a private sale, you do not need to pass a background check. However, federal law requires federally-licensed dealers to conduct background checks.
Do I Need a Concealed Carry Permit in Arizona?
Arizona is what is known as a permitless carry state. This means that you do not need a permit to open carry if you are at least 18 years old. You may also carry a concealed firearm without a permit if you are at least 21 years old. However, you can still become a concealed carry permit holder in the state. You can obtain a concealed carry permit from the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit.
In most cases, you are not required to have this permit. However, obtaining a concealed handgun permit allows you to legally carry a firearm in restaurants that serve alcohol, as well as on school grounds. Keep in mind that the penalties for entering restricted areas while illegally carrying concealed weapons are very harsh.
Can I Have a Gun in My Car?
If you are at least 18 years old and not a prohibited possessor, you may openly carry a firearm in your motor vehicle. However, the gun must be clearly visible to anyone outside of your car looking into it. If the firearm is not visible, it must be stored in the glove compartment, in a holster, or in secure firearm storage. Keep in mind that this only applies to a person’s privately owned motor vehicle.
What Guns Are Illegal in Arizona?
Despite the relatively lenient ownership laws, certain deadly weapons are still illegal. According to the Arizona Revised Statute, it is illegal to possess a firearm of any of the following types.
- Fully automatic weapons
- Rifles with a barrel less than 16 inches long or shotguns with a barrel less than 18 inches long (sawed-off weapons)
- Firearms made from rifles or shotguns that have been modified to have an overall length of under 26 inches
- Firearms that can automatically shoot one or more shots with a single function of the trigger, without manually reloading
- Devices intended to muffle the sound of a firearm
Where Are Guns Prohibited in Arizona?
While you can have both concealed carry and openly carried firearms in Arizona without a permit, there are still a few places where all firearms are prohibited.
- Polling places on an election day
- Correctional facilities
- Power plants using nuclear or hydroelectric energy
- School grounds
- Colleges and universities
- Liquor stores that have posted a “no guns allowed” sign
- Public places or events where the organizer has prohibited firearms
- Game preserves
- Any other place where federal law prohibits firearms
Keep in mind that this does not apply to law enforcement officers.
Do I Need to Tell Police Officers That I Have a Gun?
If you have a concealed weapon in your vehicle while being pulled over by a law enforcement officer, the first thing to do is stay calm. Be as polite and respectful as possible. You have every right to carry a firearm in your vehicle, and you are not legally obligated to tell a law enforcement officer who pulls you over.
If the peace officer asks if you have a weapon, answer honestly. Additionally, if you need to retrieve anything from your glove compartment, inform the officer that you have a gun in the compartment. This will keep you safe from an overreaction from the officer. If the officer asks for your firearm, this will only be temporary. As soon as your interaction with the officer has concluded, they will return your weapon.
Penalties for Unlawful Gun Ownership in Arizona
Most Arizona citizens who are at least 21 years old may possess an open or concealed firearm. However, certain individuals may not open or concealed carry any firearm or deadly weapon. People who meet any of the following criteria are considered “prohibited possessors” and may not possess a firearm.
- Anyone thought to be a danger to themselves or others
- Someone who has a severe mental condition or disability
- Convicted felons
- Those convicted of a domestic violence offense
- Someone who is an adjudicated delinquent for a felony offense
- Those in any correctional or detention facility
- Those on probation, parole, community supervision, work furlough, or house arrest
- Undocumented immigrants
- Someone who has been found incompetent
- Someone who has been found guilty on the basis of insanity
The penalties for a person carrying an open or concealed weapon unlawfully are steep. Below, we briefly outline some of the penalties for unlawful gun ownership in Arizona.
- If a minor under the age of 21 has a concealed carry weapon, this is a class 3 misdemeanor.
- Lying to peace officers about having a concealed deadly weapon is a class 1 misdemeanor.
- Having a gun on school grounds or selling a firearm to a prohibited possessor could be either a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony.
- If a prohibited possessor has a firearm, this is a class 4 felony.
- If someone sells or gives a firearm to someone in a criminal gang, this is a class 3 felony.
How to Restore Your Gun Rights
Depending on the reason for the loss of your gun rights, you may need to wait as long as 10 years after the end of your case to restore your right to carry a concealed firearm or open firearm. Below, we outline the potential waiting periods for restoring your gun rights in Arizona.
- Those convicted of non-serious felonies can petition for a set aside immediately after the end of their case. If granted, this automatically restores their gun rights.
- If the court does not grant the set aside, you can still petition for firearm rights restoration. However, you must wait two years after the end of your criminal case in order to apply for a restoration of your gun rights.
- Those convicted of domestic violence offenses must acquire a set aside in order to restore their gun rights. They can petition for one immediately after their case ends.
- Those convicted of serious felony offenses may not restore their gun rights through a set aside. They need to wait 10 years before they can apply for a firearms rights restoration. The following are examples of what constitutes a serious offense.
- Dangerous crimes against children
- Those convicted of dangerous offenses do not qualify for either a set aside or a firearm rights restoration.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Firearm Offenses in AZ
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we understand that it’s easy to get lost in the weeds when trying to figure out specific parts of state law. If you have been charged with a firearm offense in Arizona, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers are passionate about the work that they do. We stay up to date on all changes to Arizona law so that we can ensure you get the best possible representation and outcome in your case. If you need a defense attorney for a firearms offense in the Phoenix area, our law firm is here for you. To schedule a consultation with us, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.