The second amendment to the United States constitution states that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” From this amendment, American citizens have been granted the inalienable right to own and use firearms.
In an effort to protect themselves from criminals and potential harm, many Arizona residents choose to concealed carry a firearm. While this is perfectly legal, Arizona gun owners need to know the following information:
- Arizona Concealed Carry Statutes
- Who Can Concealed Carry
- Where You Can Concealed Carry
- Amount of Force You Can Use
According to A.R.S 13-3112, Arizona is a shall issue state when it comes to obtaining a concealed carry permit. A person may concealed carry so long as the person applying for the permit is a U.S citizen who is over the age of 21 and is legally allowed to own a firearm.
Once the department of public safety has received a receipt of the person’s certified firearms course completion they are required to issue a permit. This process can take up to 75 days, but once the permit has been issued it is valid for 5 years and can then be renewed every 5 years after that.
Who Can Concealed Carry in Arizona
Each state has different laws and statutes strictly regulating who can possess a firearm as well as what it takes for an individual to be able to concealed carry a firearm. A common rule shared by most states is that an individual must take a firearm safety class and obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a gun.
Arizona is not one of those states. Arizona is a constitutional carry state, meaning that any individual 21 years of age or older who is legally allowed to be in possession of a firearm is allowed to concealed carry and they do not need to attend any classes nor do they need to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Even though constitutional carry allows for permitless carry, it does not allow for an individual to carry a firearm with them wherever they want to go. Instead, certain federal and state laws dictate where guns can and cannot be carried.
Where You Cannot Concealed Carry in Arizona
When it comes to concealed carry there are several common places where firearms are not allowed, but it is best to check ahead of time if the place that you are going allows firearms or not to ensure that you do not get into any legal trouble.
Firearms are generally prohibited from being carried in the following locations:
- Federal Buildings (Including the Post Office)
- Federal Courts
- K-12 School Grounds
- Military Bases
- Polling places on election day
Just because a place is not listed above or doesn’t list that firearms are not allowed on their website, does not mean that you can carry there. In addition to the list above, according to A.R.S 4-229 any business may post a sign that clearly states firearms are not allowed on the premises and these signs must be obeyed.
What to Do in a Gun Free Zone
If you are going into a gun free zone, obviously you are not allowed to concealed carry, but what should you do with your gun? One option is to leave your gun at home, or Arizona law allows you to leave your gun in your car, so long as it is out of sight.
For example, if you are a parent and are picking your child up from school or for whatever reason need to step foot on school grounds you are not allowed to carry your gun with you. Instead, before leaving your car you will need to unload your firearm as well secure it in your vehicle, out of plain sight.
This can be accomplished by simply clearing the chamber and removing the magazine then placing the gun in the glovebox or center console of your car. Even though this is legal, it is highly recommended that you use caution and common sense by doing your best to ensure others do not see the gun being securely put away as this can cause a serious disturbance.
Castle Doctrine vs Stand Your Ground
When it comes to defending yourself as well as your loved ones, many states such as Arizona have adopted variations of the castle doctrine, which to a certain degree allows citizens to protect themselves from those who are seeking to do them harm. The modern interpretation of the castle doctrine establishes a self-defense justification for use of deadly force against an intruder in your home or on your property.
Self-defense justification protects you from criminal prosecution, and it may even protect you from civil liabilities such as the intruder suing you for shooting them.
Even though the castle doctrine is one of the most effective legal protections for gun owners, it has one major limitation, it is limited to real property. This means that the castle doctrine can only be used if you are at a place considered to be real property, such as your home, place of work or occasionally, your vehicle.
The state of Arizona in addition to being a castle doctrine state has stand your ground laws come into play as the next self-defense justification. Stand your ground laws allow for you to protect yourself in areas other than those considered to be real property.
If you’re not engaged in an unlawful act and you’re in a place that you have a right to be, you don’t have to retreat when someone threatens or assaults you. Nevertheless, you may only use proportional and reasonable force when immediately necessary to protect against potentially deadly force.
FAQ about Arizona Concealed Carry Statutes:
Q: Is Arizona a stand your ground state?
Yes, Arizona is a “stand your ground” state, but there are certain criteria that need to be met as well as you may only use reasonable force.
Q:Do I have to register my gun(s) in Arizona?
No, according to A.R.S 13-3102 no political subdivision of the state may “require the licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories. . .”
Q: Can I concealed carry in a bank?
There are no federal or state laws preventing you from carrying a gun into a bank, however the bank is on private property and they may post a sign prohibiting it.
Q: Can I concealed carry across state lines?
Each state has different laws which regulate who can concealed carry, and you will need to check if you are allowed to concealed carry in that state or not.
Facing Charges for Protecting Yourself with a Firearm in Arizona?
As an Arizona resident you have the right to concealed carry, as well as you have certain granted rights that allow you to protect yourself in times of danger. If you exercised your second amendment right to protect yourself and are facing charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you with your case.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.