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 aged 21 or over to carry a firearm concealed on his or her person in public without a license or permit. (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.
Nevertheless, as described below, Arizona’s permitting system remains in place. Holders of Arizona concealed weapons permits are 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.
DPS must revoke or suspend a permit if the holder has become ineligible.
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.
Duration & Renewal
A concealed weapons permit is valid for five years. Permits are renewable for five-year periods, but applicants must undergo a new criminal history record check.
Disclosure or Use of Information
Arizona does not allow the personal application or permit information of concealed weapons permit holders to be made public. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.