Arizona Gun Laws
What are the Gun Possession / Carry Laws in Arizona?
The first thing you should note is that Arizona laws do not cover only guns, but all "weapons" in general, so the rules given here should apply to any weapon that is not illegal in and of itself (such as nunchaku).
Arizona has some of the loosest weapon restriction laws in the nation. Many things that are allowed in this state would get you arrested anywhere else. Because the penalties for weapons possession can be extremely severe, and differ drastically from state to state, keep in mind that the following rules apply only to the state of Arizona.
Open Carry Rule
Arizona is an "open carry" state, which means that anyone can legally carry any (legal) weapon in the open, without any permits, as long as the weapon is:
- Kept in a holster or scabbard
- At least partially visible on your person, or;
- Kept in a container or the glove compartment of a vehicle (still must be holstered, however)
This means that it is perfectly legal to carry a loaded handgun or revolver on a belt holster, out in the open, while you walk down the street, and no special permits are required. You CANNOT, however, unholster that weapon without a very good reason, nor can you walk around holding a gun in your hand or tucked into your pants. You must have a bona fide holster or case to keep it in, and both the gun AND holster must be openly visible.
However, the cases do not have to be locked, unlike most states, nor even capable of locking.
Concealed Carry Permits
Known as "CCW's," concealed carry permits allow anyone to carry a weapon on their person out of sight. They are available to anyone who meets the state of Arizona's (rather lax) criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have no felony convictions
- Be in the country legally
- Pass an Department of Public Safety approved firearm safety course (can be done in most community colleges)
It is important to note that Arizona does not distinguish between resident and non-resident, or indeed even between U.S. citizen and permanent resident. The only requirement is that you are NOT an illegal alien; any other person is eligible for a concealed carry permit. Also, the safety course, (8 hours long with a 2 hour renewal course every 5 years) MUST be taken within Arizona, regardless of whether you are a resident or not.
Pocket knives may be carried out of sight without a permit but the Attorney General's opinion is that this only includes pocket knives with blades that do not exceed four inches in length. Arizona statutes do not address the issue of switchblades but it is likely that the concealed carrying of any switchblade with a blade longer than four inches would also require a concealed weapon permit
Note that without such permits, carrying such weapons concealed is a serious crime.
Even in Arizona, there are some places where no guns are allowed, permit or not. All firearms are prohibited in the following places:
- Any establishment that serves alcohol (must serve, rather than just sell)
- Any public event where the operator requests you relinquish your arms (must provide on-site storage if such a request is made)
- The grounds of all public schools, state universities, or community colleges
- Polling places (on election day only)
- Correctional facilities (including parking lots)
- Game refuges (except during authorizing hunting trips)
Must I Inform Police of My Weapon?
Strictly as a matter of law, no, you are not required to disclose the fact that you are armed to anyone, even police, unless they directly ask you. However, common sense may dictate otherwise, and most gun enthusiasts would recommend you alert the officer to your weapon immediately, to prevent any dangerous misunderstandings.
I Have a Permit From Another State, Will it be Recognized?
If you are just a temporary visitor, then Arizona will very likely recognize your gun permit (unless you are from one of the handful of states that refuses to recognize Arizona's permit reciprocally). If you are becoming a resident of Arizona, you must reapply.
Will My Permit Be Recognized Anywhere Else?
Over 25 other states recognize Arizona's CCW permit, meaning you can carry a weapon concealed within those states as well, as long as you are there only temporarily. HOWEVER, as mentioned earlier, other state's laws differ dramatically on gun possession rules, especially concealed guns, so it is very important you be careful and contact an attorney familiar with the laws of the state you are traveling to before bringing a gun into it. Otherwise you may be subjected to severe fines and/or a jail sentence.
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Last Modified: 10-06-2011 02:19 PM PDT