Open and Concealed Gun Carry Laws in Arizona

Article 26 of Arizona’s state constitution provides for the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. Arizona’s gun laws are more lenient than those of many other states, allowing most law-abiding adult residents to carry firearms, either openly or concealed (except in certain prohibited locations). No special permit is required for either. You may, however, want to obtain an Arizona gun permit if you are a resident who intends to carry a gun into another state.

For more information, see Arizona Gun Laws.

While Arizona’s permissive gun laws grant state citizens a good deal of flexibility, they don’t allow everyone to have a gun, or to carry a gun wherever they like. The sections that follow explain who may not own a gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a gun is illegal.

Carrying a Gun in Your Vehicle

If you are legally allowed to possess a gun, you may carry it openly in your vehicle. In addition, you may carry a concealed weapon in your vehicle as long as you disclose its presence to any law enforcement officer who detains you based on reasonable suspicion of an offense and asks you whether you are carrying a concealed weapon. (Arizona Statutes § 13-3102(A).) You do not need to disclose the existence of the weapon if it is contained in a visible case, holster, scabbard, pack, or luggage; or if it is in a storage compartment, map pocket, trunk, or glove compartment. (Arizona Statutes § 13-3102(B).)

No property owner may prohibit you from legally carrying a firearm in your locked vehicle, or in a locked compartment on a motorcycle, as long as the firearm is not visible from outside. (Arizona Statutes § 12-781(A).) The laws pertaining to carrying a firearm in a vehicle on school grounds are similar, except that the firearm must also be unloaded. (Arizona Statutes § 12-3102(I).)

People Who May Not Possess a Gun

Generally speaking, any adult person may carry a loaded firearm. However, there are exceptions. The following individuals may not possess a firearm in Arizona:

  • anyone who has been found to constitute a danger to himself or to others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order under, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been legally restored
  • anyone who has been convicted of a felony or who has been adjudicated delinquent and whose civil right to possess or carry a gun or firearm has not been legally restored
  • anyone who is serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional facility or detention facility
  • anyone who is serving a term of probation for a domestic violence offense, a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest, or release on any other basis, or
  • anyone who is an undocumented alien or a nonimmigrant alien traveling with or without documentation in Arizona for business or pleasure or who is studying in this state and who maintains a foreign residence abroad. This restriction does not apply to: nonimmigrant aliens who possess a valid hunting license or permit that is lawfully issued by a state in the United States; nonimmigrant aliens who enter the United States to participate in a competitive target shooting event or to display firearms at a sports or hunting trade show that is sponsored by a national, state or local firearms trade organization devoted to the competitive use or other sporting use of firearms; certain diplomats; officials of foreign governments or distinguished foreign visitors who are designated by the United States Department of State; or anyone who has received a waiver from the United States Attorney General.
  • anyone determined to be incompetent in a criminal procedure.
  • anyone found guilty except insane.

(Arizona Statutes § 13-3101.)

Situations or Circumstances Where Carrying a Gun is Illegal

Restricted locations. You may not carry a firearm at the following locations. (There are usually exceptions to these rules for law enforcement officers.)

  • businesses that serve alcohol for consumption on the premises, unless you have a valid gun permit (see below)
  • polling places on election days
  • school grounds, with limited exceptions noted below
  • commercial nuclear & hydroelectric generating stations
  • military bases
  • Indian reservations, though you should check with the tribe for particular rules
  • game preserves
  • correctional facilities
  • at or beyond airport security checkpoints
  • any place where federal, state or local laws prohibit weapons, or
  • state, local, or private events when the operator, sponsor, or agent requests that you not bring or carry the weapon.

(Arizona Statutes § 13-3102 and Arizona Department of Public Safety.)

Private businesses. Private business owners -- for example, grocery or convenience stores, laundromats, banks, office complexes -- may forbid weapons on their property, whether or not they post signs to that effect. Failure to comply may result in a charge of trespassing. (Arizona Statutes § 4-229 and Arizona Department of Public Safety.)

Exceptions for school grounds. You may carry a firearm on school grounds if you are an adult attending a firearms hunter or safety class or participating in an approved school program that requires you to possess a firearm. Exceptions for carrying a firearm on school grounds in your vehicle are discussed above. (Arizona Statutes § § 13-3112, 13-3102 and Arizona Department of Public Safety.)

Exceptions for permit holders carrying concealed weapons where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises. If you have an Arizona concealed weapons permit, you may carry a concealed weapon in such establishments, unless there is a posted sign prohibiting weapons. (Arizona Statutes § 4-229.) However, you may not consume alcohol while carrying your firearm. (Arizona Statutes § 4-244(31).)

Types of Guns That Are Illegal

The following types of firearms are prohibited in Arizona:

  • a firearm that is capable of shooting more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger, and
  • a rifle with a barrel length of less than sixteen inches, or shotgun with a barrel length of less than eighteen inches, or any firearm that is made from a rifle or shotgun and that, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.

In addition, you may not use devices that are designed to muffle the report of a firearm.

(Arizona Statutes § 13-3101(A)(8).)

Penalties for Illegally Possessing a Gun

Depending on the specific offense, violating a gun law in Arizona could constitute anything from a misdemeanor to a serious felony offense. You can learn the specifics by carefully reading sections 13-3102 of the Arizona Statutes.

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Arizona, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit or carry violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

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