Gun Possession And Carry Laws In Arizona
Arizona weapon laws pertain to guns and other legal weaponry. The state has some of the most relaxed restrictions in the nation, with many of the allowances being things that would cause arrest in other states.
Arizona’s Open Carry Rule
Arizona is an “open carry” state. This means that anyone can legally carry any legal weapon in the open and without permits being required. This rule applies as long as the following are met:
- The weapon is kept in a holster or scabbard
- It is at least partially visible on your person; or
- The weapon is holstered and kept in a container or in the glove compartment of a vehicle
Arizona state law permits you to carry a loaded handgun or revolver on a belt holster. You can do this in public places without special permits. But you cannot unholster the weapon without good reason. You also cannot walk around with the weapon in your hand or tucked into your pants. The gun must remain in a legitimate holster or case, with both the weapon and the holster being openly visible. The holster or case does not have to have a lock. In accordance with Shannon’s Law, it is always illegal to discharge a firearm anywhere in Arizona within the limits of any municipality (less than one mile from any occupied structure).
Concealed Carry in Arizona
Called CCWs, concealed carry weapon permits enable you to carry a concealed weapon. Concealed carry used to be illegal without a permit. But since July 2010 the Arizona Constitutional Carry Law rules changed, enabling people in Arizona to carry a concealed weapon without needing a permit.
But you can still get a CCW permit to allow you to carry a concealed weapon in other states. With one of these permits you can be within 1000 feet of a school zone with a weapon, according to federal law. When you hold a CCW permit you do not have to go through another background screening for purchase of a new firearm.
You can gain a CCW permit if you meet these criteria:
- At least 21 years old or 19 years old with proof of military service or honorable discharge
- Free of any felony convictions, or having a felony conviction that is expunged or with right to possess firearms restored
- In the U.S. legally as an Arizona resident or U.S. citizen
- Not suffering any mental illness or deemed mentally incompetent
- Passed an approved firearm safety class or meet requirements from the list below:
- Any firearm safety course offered to the public, such as junior college courses
- NRA firearm safety or training
- Arizona-approved hunter safety course
- Government firearms safety course
- Another state’s valid or expired firearm permit
- Hold proof of current military service or honorable discharge
Exceptions to Concealed Carry in Arizona
There are still places you cannot carry a concealed weapon in Arizona, even with a CCW permit. These include:
- Alcohol serving establishments prohibiting firearms
- Public events where operators request relinquishment of firearms
- Public school, state university or community college grounds
- Polling places on election day
- Correctional facilities or grounds
You cannot drink alcohol while carrying your weapon.
You do not have to disclose your concealed carry weapon to anyone, even police unless you are directly asked. But you should use common sense and alert the officer to your weapon to prevent misunderstanding.
Does Arizona Recognize Your Permit from Another State?
Arizona likely will recognize your permit from your own state, if you are temporarily visiting the state. That is, unless you are from one of the states that does not recognize Arizona’s permit. New residents in the state must reapply.
Will My Arizona Permit Be Recognized Anywhere Else?
Arizona’s CCW permit is recognized in 36 other U.S. states. This means you can carry your concealed weapon within those states on a temporary visitor basis. But other state laws differ from Arizona’s laws, so you need to familiarize yourself with that state’s requirements. You can be held accountable for severe fines or even a jail sentence in that state, if you do not adhere to their state laws.
If you find yourself charged with weapons infractions in Arizona, you need a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer.