Arizona

Ammunition Regulation in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona law generally prohibits anyone from giving or selling ammunition to a person under age 18 without written consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.1

Arizona does not:

See our Ammunition Regulation Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 1-215(22), 13-3109. This rule does not apply to the temporary transfer of ammunition by firearms safety instructors, hunter safety instructors, competition coaches or their assistants if the minor’s parent or guardian has given consent for the minor to participate in activities such as firearms or hunting safety courses, firearms competition or training. With the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian, the temporary transfer of firearms and ammunition by an adult accompanying the minor in hunting or formal or informal target shooting activities is also allowed. Id. []

Arizona State Law Summary

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

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Last updated December 9, 2013

In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Arizona ranked 50th out of 50 – having some of the weakest gun laws in the country.

In 2013, the Arizona legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.

enacted in 2013

Laws that Weaken Gun Regulation

AZ H 2326 Expands prohibition against keeping records of gun possession and purchase.
AZ H 2455 Prohibits destruction of firearm by a government entity as part of a buyback.

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Among other things, Arizona does not:

In 2010, Arizona had the 8th highest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (“MAIG”), Arizona had the 13th highest rate of crime gun exports among the states – meaning that crime guns originally sold in Arizona were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 13th highest rate among the states.

According to MAIG, Arizona is also one of the top three source states for U.S. guns that are recovered after being used in a crime in Mexico. When population is taken into account, Arizona has the highest rate of crime gun exports to Mexico of any state.
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Assault Weapons in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona has no law restricting assault weapons.

See our Assault Weapons Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Background Checks in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Arizona is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Arizona has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Arizona firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.1

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions.2 As a result, concealed weapon permit holders in Arizona are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a handgun.3 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state permits to purchase or permit firearms if the state fails to remove these permits in a timely fashion.)

Arizona does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See Private Sales Policy Summary.

See our Background Checks Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map. []
  2. Federal law exempts persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d). []
  3. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Department. of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart at: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/brady-law/permit-chart.html. []

Child Access Prevention in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona law makes a parent or guardian of a person under age 18 jointly and severally liable for the fine imposed or any civil damages resulting from a minor’s use of a firearm in certain situations.1 This rule only applies if the minor knowingly and without the company of a proper adult, carried or possessed a firearm on his or her person, within his or her immediate control, or in or on a means of transportation:

  • In any place that is open to the public;
  • On any street or highway; or
  • On any private property except private property owned or leased by the minor or the minor’s parent,
    grandparent or guardian.

The parent or guardian is only liable if he or she knew or reasonably should have known that the minor was carrying or possessing the firearm as described above, and he or she made no effort to prevent it.2

See our Child Access Prevention Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3111(A), (F). Exceptions exist under certain circumstances if the minor was between the ages of 14 and 17. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3111(B). []
  2. Id. []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

See our Concealed Weapons Permitting Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

On April 16, 2010, Arizona’s governor signed into law a bill that allows any individual age 21 or over to carry a firearm concealed on his or her person in public without a license or permit.1 (Prior Arizona law required concealed weapon holders to apply for a permit, pass a background check, and obtain firearms safety training.) The only requirement is that the person must accurately answer if a peace officer, who is detaining the person based on reasonable suspicion of an offense, asks whether he or she is carrying a concealed weapon.2

Nevertheless, as described below, Arizona’s permitting system remains in place, and a permit is required to carry a firearm into a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. (See the section entitled Other Location Restrictions for further information.) Holders of Arizona concealed weapons permits are also allowed to carry concealed weapons in some other states, and an Arizona concealed weapons permit exempts the holder from the federal requirement of a background check prior to purchase of a firearm.

For those who seek concealed weapons permits for these purposes, Arizona is a “shall issue” state. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) must issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon if the applicant:

  • Is an Arizona resident or United States citizen;
  • Is age 21 or older;
  • Is not under indictment for and has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony;
  • Does not suffer from mental illness and has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution;
  • Is not unlawfully present in the United States; and
  • Satisfactorily demonstrates competence with a firearm, as described below.3

DPS must revoke or suspend a permit if the holder has become ineligible.4

Firearm Safety Training

Arizona’s 2010 law regarding the carrying of concealed weapons eliminated the specific requirements for the content of firearms safety training courses. (Prior Arizona law required the course to address, among other things, legal issues relating to the use of deadly force, and the safe handling and storage of weapons.) A 2011 law further reduced oversight of firearm training programs by the state and allows applicants for concealed weapon permits to obtain instruction from NRA-certified instructors that have not been approved by the Department of Public Safety. An applicant for a concealed weapons permit may now demonstrate competence with a firearm through any one of the following:

  • Completion of any firearms training course approved by the Department of Public Safety;
  • Completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Department or a similar agency of another state;
  • Completion of any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
  • Completion of any firearms training course conducted by a Department of Public Safety-approved or National Rifle Association-certified instructor;
  • Evidence of current military service or proof of honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions from the United States Armed Forces;
  • A valid current or expired concealed weapon, firearm or handgun permit or license issued by another state or a political subdivision of another state that has a training or testing requirement
    for initial issuance; or
  • Completion of any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualification to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties.5

Duration & Renewal

A concealed weapons permit is valid for five years.6 Permits are renewable for five-year periods, but applicants must undergo a new criminal history record check.7

Disclosure or Use of Information

Arizona does not allow the personal application or permit information of concealed weapons permit holders to be made public.8 DPS does, however, maintain a computerized permit record system that is accessible to criminal justice agencies who may use it to determine the permit status of a person who claims to hold a valid permit in Arizona only if the agency or other entity has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is carrying a concealed weapon and the person is subject to a lawful criminal investigation, arrest, detention or investigatory stop. This information and any other records that are maintained regarding applicants, permit holders, or firearms safety instructors are not available to any other person or entity except by order from a state or federal court.9

DPS is also required to maintain information comparing the number of permits requested, issued, and denied, and must report these figures annually to the governor and the legislature.10

Reciprocity

Arizona recognizes concealed weapon, firearm, or handgun permits or licenses issued by other states if the permit or license is recognized as valid in the issuing state, and the permit or license holder:

  • Is legally present in Arizona; and
  • Is not legally prohibited from possessing a firearm in Arizona.11

However, even when these requirements are met, the person with a concealed weapons permit from another state may not carry a concealed weapon in Arizona if the person is under 21 years of age, or is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, a felony in any jurisdiction, unless the conviction has been expunged, set aside or vacated, or the person’s rights have been restored.12

Arizona law requires the Department of Public Safety to enter into a written reciprocity agreement with another state only if that state requires the agreement for establishing mutual permit or license recognition.13

  1. 2010 Ariz. ALS 59. []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3102(A)(1)(b), (M). []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112 and Arizona Administrative Code §§ 13-9-101—13-9-402 for additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information. []
  4. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(M). []
  5. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(E)(6), (N). []
  6. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(I). []
  7. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(K). []
  8. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(J). []
  9. Id. []
  10. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(O). []
  11. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(Q). []
  12. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(S). []
  13. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3112(R). []

Dealer Regulations in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

See our Dealer Regulations Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Arizona has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license. Firearms dealers are only subject to state laws governing gun sales generally.

For laws requiring dealers to conduct a background check on prospective firearm purchasers, see the Background Checks in Arizona section.

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona does not impose any design safety standards on handguns.

See our  Design Safety Standards for Handguns Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

(This section was last updated June 28, 2010.)

Arizona has no laws requiring the disarmament of persons prohibited from possessing firearms, except when a court issues an eligible domestic violence protective order.

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

(This section was last updated June 26, 2012.)

Firearm Prohibitions and Notification for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

Arizona only prohibits possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a domestic violence offense while the person is serving a term of probation for that conviction.1 A “domestic violence offense” is defined to include certain violent crimes against many current and former household and family members.  In 2009, Arizona adopted “Kaity’s Law,”  which extended this definition to include situations where the victim and the defendant are, or were previously, in a significant romantic or sexual relationship, as determined by a set of factors.2

Federal law also prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by certain domestic misdemeanants.

Firearm Prohibitions and Notification for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Arizona law authorizes a court that is issuing a protective order against domestic violence (as defined above) to prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order if the court finds that the defendant is a credible threat to the physical safety of the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons.3

A court may issue an ex parte emergency order of protection against domestic violence if a peace officer states that the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence based on an allegation of a recent incident of actual domestic violence. If the court finds that the defendant may inflict bodily injury or death on the plaintiff, the defendant may be prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the emergency order.4

Federal law also prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by persons subject to certain domestic violence protection orders, although the federal law does not extend to ex parte orders.

Surrender of Firearms When a Protective Order Is Issued

In Arizona, if a court that is issuing a final domestic violence protective order (not an emergency order) prohibits the defendant from possessing a firearm, the court must also order the defendant to transfer any firearm owned or possessed by the defendant immediately after service of the order to the appropriate law enforcement agency for the duration of the order. If the defendant does not immediately transfer the firearm, the defendant shall transfer the firearm within 24 hours after service of the order.5

Removal of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

In Arizona, a peace officer arresting someone at the scene of a domestic violence incident may question the persons who are present to determine if a firearm is present.6 On learning or observing that a firearm is present, the peace officer may temporarily seize the firearm if it is in plain view or was found pursuant to a consensual search and if the officer reasonably believes that the firearm would expose the victim or another person in the household to a risk of serious bodily injury or death. The peace officer must give the owner a receipt indicating the firearm’s serial number or other identifying characteristic. The firearm must be held for at least 72 hours by the law enforcement agency that seized it.7

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3101(A)(7)(d), 13-3102(A)(4). []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601. []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(G)(4). []
  4. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3624. []
  5. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(G)(4). []
  6. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601(C)-(F). []
  7. Id. A peace officer must then notify the victim before the firearm is released from custody. If there is reasonable cause to believe that returning a firearm may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the prosecutor must file in a court a notice of intent to retain the firearm. The notice must state that the firearm will be retained for no more than six months following the seizure. The owner may request a hearing for the return of the firearm, to dispute the grounds for seizure or to request an earlier return date. The court must hold the hearing within ten days after the request. At the hearing, unless the court determines that the return of the firearm may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the court must order the return of the firearm. Id. []