Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Arizona

Posted on May 7, 2015

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3108 provides in part:

  1. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, a political subdivision of this state shall not enact any ordinance, rule or tax relating to the transportation, possession, carrying, sale, transfer, purchase, acquisition, gift, devise, storage, licensing, registration, discharge or use of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories in this state.
  2. A political subdivision of this state shall not require the licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories or prohibit the ownership, purchase, sale or transfer of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories.

In 2010, Arizona enacted two laws that add to this section. The first new law added a subsection that reads:

A political subdivision of this state shall not enact any rule or ordinance that relates to firearms and is more prohibitive than or that has a penalty that is greater than any state law penalty. A political subdivision’s rule or ordinance that relates to firearms and that is inconsistent with or more restrictive than state law, whether enacted before or after the effective date of the amendment to this section, is null and void.1

That law also removed local authority to limit firearm possession in certain parks and preserves, and made clear that the state’s restrictions on local authority apply whether the political subdivision is acting pursuant to its police power, in a proprietary capacity, or otherwise.2

The second new law added a subsection that, as subsequently amended, prohibits a political subdivision from requiring or maintaining a record in any form, whether permanent or temporary, including a list, log or database, of any of the following:

  • Any identifying information of a person who leaves a weapon in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event, except that the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event may require that a person provide a government issued identification or a reasonable copy of a government issued identification for the purpose of establishing ownership of the weapon. The operator or sponsor must store any provided identification with the weapon and shall return the identification to the person when the weapon is retrieved. The operator or sponsor must not retain records or copies of any identification provided pursuant to this paragraph after the weapon is retrieved;
  • Except in the course of a law enforcement investigation, any identifying information of a person who purchases, sells or transfers a firearm; or
  • The description, including the serial number, of a weapon that is left in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event.3

Nevertheless, section 13-3108 permits political subdivisions to enact and enforce firearms regulations that:

  • Impose privilege and use taxes on the retail sale, lease or rental of, or the gross proceeds or gross income from the sale, lease or rental of, firearms or ammunition or their components at a rate that applies generally to other items of tangible personal property;
  • Require that a minor who knowingly possesses or carries a firearm in any place that is in or open to the public or on any street or highway or on private property (except private property owned or leased by the minor or the minor’s parent, grandparent or guardian) to be accompanied by a parent, grandparent, guardian or certified hunter or firearms safety instructor acting with the consent of a parent, grandparent, or guardian. Any ordinance or rule adopted pursuant to this provision shall not apply to minors age 14 through 17 engaged in lawful hunting or shooting events, including transportation of an unloaded firearm for such purposes, and for activities related to agricultural work;
  • Relate to the regulation of land and structures, including firearms or ammunition-related businesses or shooting ranges, in the same manner as other commercial businesses (but see § 17-602(A), which states that outdoor shooting range noise standards are a matter of statewide concern). This provision does not authorize a political subdivision to regulate the sale or transfer of firearms on property it owns, leases, operates or controls in a manner that is different than or inconsistent with state law. For the purposes of this provision, a use permit or other contract that provides for the use of property owned, leased, operated or controlled by a political subdivision shall not be considered a sale, conveyance or disposition of property;
  • Regulate employees or independent contractors of the political subdivision who are acting within the course and scope of their employment or contract; or
  • Limit or prohibit the discharge of firearms in parks and preserves. Narrow exceptions exist to this area of regulation, including the discharge of firearms on properly supervised ranges, in approved hunting areas, to control nuisance wildlife, if in possession of a special permit issued by the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision, if working as an animal control officer, or in self-defense or defense of another person against an animal attack if a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force was necessary.4

For further information about preemption in this state, contact the Law Center directly.

 

  1. 2010 Ariz. ALS 19, codified as Ariz. Rev. Stat § 13-3108(D). []
  2. 2010 Ariz. ALS 19. []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat § 13-3108(C). []
  4. Ariz. Rev. Stat § 13-3108(F). []