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Arizona Gun Control Laws

Arizona gun control laws are among the least restrictive in the United States. In 2010, Arizona was one of the first states to enact a permitless or constitutional carry law. As a result, Arizona allows any person 21 years or older, who is not a prohibited possessor, to carry a firearm openly or concealed without the need for a concealed weapons permit.

Arizona, like other states, has struggled to prevent mass shootings and gun violence. In 2011, an armed man appeared at a public event at a Tucson area Safeway store parking lot. He shot Gabrielle Giffords, a member of Congress who represented Arizona's 8th Congressional District, along with 18 others.

Six of the victims, including a federal court judge, died from their injuries. Giffords recovered from a gunshot wound to her head after surgery and months of therapy. She later left Congress and founded the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Although lawmakers spoke out against the assassination attempt and loss of life, it did not lead to changes in Arizona gun laws.

Federal Firearms Law

Both federal and state laws address the possession, carrying, and use of firearms.

Federal law regulates the ownership and use of certain dangerous weapons, including machine guns and devices like bump stocks, which cause a semi-automatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic weapon.

The federal government also licenses firearms dealers and bans the possession of firearms by certain persons like convicted felons and those using illegal drugs.

Efforts by both the federal and state governments to regulate firearms must comply with the Second Amendment rights of gun owners to bear arms for lawful purposes such as self-defense.

In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In Bruen, the Court held gun laws that burden the right to bear arms must be consistent with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation. Gun rights advocates have filed new challenges to many federal and state gun regulations, citing the new historical test from Bruen.

Arizona Gun Laws

In Arizona, the state constitution also protects the right to bear arms. Firearm laws continue to reflect the state's permissive approach to gun regulation.

Arizona does not ban assault weapons. The state has no waiting period or licensing process for the purchase of a firearm. It does not require private gun sales or transfers to include a criminal background check.

Concealed Carry Laws

States like Arizona that have permitless handgun carry laws operate on the honor system. They presume that citizens know when the law prohibits them from having a firearm and will comply. Such laws have replaced prior concealed carry permit laws that required a person to pass a criminal background check and complete a firearms safety training course before they received permission to carry a concealed firearm.

Even though Arizona is a permitless carry state, it maintains its concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit process for purposes of reciprocity with other states. For that reason, many individuals still seek the issuance of CCW permits.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) accepts applications for such permits. Arizona is a "shall issue" state, which means that the DPS must issue a permit to individuals who meet the objective criteria outlined in the statute. You can apply online or by mailing the application packet to the DPS in Phoenix.

Location Restrictions

Like other states, the state of Arizona provides certain limitations on possessing and carrying firearms. Arizona law prohibits taking firearms into the following locations:

  • Polling places on election day
  • School grounds
  • Commercial nuclear hydroelectric generating stations
  • Military installations
  • Correctional facilities
  • Game preserves
  • National parks
  • Federal buildings
  • Airports (secure locations)
  • Where federal, state, or local laws prohibit weapons
  • On private property or in businesses where the owner or establishment has posted signs prohibiting weapons or asked you to remove them
  • At a public establishment or public event after a reasonable request by the operator to remove the weapon and place it in temporary storage

There are often exceptions for peace officers and others authorized by the owner or business. To know if you may qualify for an exception, check the website or call an official in advance for clarification.

Overview of Arizona Gun Control Laws

Learn more about Arizona gun control laws in the table below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws for more general information.

Relevant Arizona Gun Control Statutes (Laws)

Arizona Constitution Article II, Declaration of Rights Section 26, Bearing Arms
Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Title 13, Criminal Code Chapter 31, Weapons and Explosives
  • ARS-13-3101: Definitions
  • ARS-13-3102: Misconduct involving weapons; defenses; classification
  • ARS-13-3102.01: Storage of deadly weapons; definitions
  • ARS-13-3107: Unlawful discharge of firearms; exceptions; classifications; definitions
  • ARS-13-3109: Sale or gift of firearm to minor; classification
  • ARS-13-3111: Minors prohibited from carrying or possessing firearms; exceptions; seizure and forfeiture; penalties; clarification
  • ARS-13-3112: Concealed weapons; qualification; application; permit to carry
  • ARS-13-3113: Adjudicated delinquents; firearm possession; classification
  • ARS-13-3116: Misconduct involving body armor; classification; definition
  • ARS-13-3119: Misconduct involving weapons in a secured area of an airport; classification; definitions

Illegal Arms

The following firearms are illegal to own in Arizona:

  • Automatic weapons (Firearm capable of shooting one or more shots automatically without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger)
  • Rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches
  • Shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches
  • Any firearm made from a rifle or shotgun that has been modified to a length of less than 26 inches
  • A device made or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm
  • A defaced deadly weapon

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Arizona.

Who May Not Own or Possess Firearms

The following persons can't own or possess a firearm:

  • Anyone with a felony conviction or an adjudication of delinquency for a felony, unless their civil rights have been restored
  • Anyone who at the time of possession is serving a term of probation, parole, or community supervision for a domestic violence conviction or a felony offense
  • Anyone found to constitute a danger to themselves or others or to have a persistent or acute disability or grave disability pursuant to a court order and whose rights to possess a firearm have not been restored
  • Anyone who has been found incompetent or "guilty except insane"
  • Anyone who is imprisoned or in a correctional/detention facility
  • Certain undocumented aliens or nonimmigrant aliens
  • Minors (under 18 years old) - exceptions apply when accompanied by a parent, guardian, or grandparent or when engaged in certain activities such as hunting

License Required?

You don't need a license to own or purchase a firearm in Arizona.

Concealed Carry License Required?

You don't need a license to carry a concealed firearm in Arizona if you are 21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited from firearm possession.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is allowed in Arizona as long as you are 18 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited from firearm possession.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

The Arizona Department of Public Safety will issue you a permit if you:

  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Are at least 19 years of age with proof of military service
  • Are a United States citizen or an Arizona resident
  • Are lawfully present in the United States
  • Do not have a felony charge or conviction
  • Are not a prohibited possessor under state or federal law
  • Do not suffer from mental illness
  • Have not been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution
  • Demonstrate firearm competence

You must also submit two sets of fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

Arizona accepts a valid concealed firearm permit issued by other states if the permit holder is legally present in Arizona and is not otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm under Arizona law.

Machine Gun Laws

It's illegal to possess, transfer, or sell a machine gun in Arizona unless acting in compliance with federal law.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Possessing a firearm with a felony conviction is a class 4 felony. In most circumstances, it is punishable by up to three years in prison.
  • Possessing a prohibited firearm is a class 4 felony. In most circumstances, it is punishable by up to three years in prison.
  • Illegal carrying of a deadly weapon concealed on the person or under immediate control or on a means of transportation to further a felony crime is a class 6 felony. In most circumstances, it is punishable by up to two years in prison.
  • Illegal carrying of a deadly weapon concealed on the person or under immediate control or on a means of transportation when under 21 years old is a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession on or Near School Grounds

Possessing a firearm on or near school grounds is most often a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail. It can be a class 6 felony and eligible for prison time, under certain circumstances involving gangs, criminal enterprises, and illegal drugs.

Red Flag Law?

No. Arizona does not have a red flag law that permits a court to order the removal of firearms from a person it finds to be a threat to self or others upon petition from a police officer or family member.

Universal Background Checks?

No. Background checks will only occur when a gun purchase or transfer occurs through a licensed dealer. Arizona law bans the state or its political subdivisions from placing an encumbrance on the transfer of firearms between private parties who are not prohibited possessors under state or federal law.

Stand Your Ground Law?

Yes. In situations where a person is otherwise authorized to threaten or use physical force in self-defense, they may also use deadly force when it is immediately necessary for protection against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force. There is no duty to retreat if the person is in a place they may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

Arizona Criminal Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Arizona Gun Control Laws From an Attorney

Gun control laws differ from state to state. Court challenges to gun regulations have increased across the country. State law may also include a preemption statute that prevents the enforcement of a local gun law that conflicts with state law. As a result, understanding the gun laws in your state may present a challenge.

If you have questions about gun control laws in Arizona, consider seeking legal advice. An experienced criminal defense attorney can answer your questions and help assess your unique situation.

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