Eleventh Circuit Upholds Florida Law Preventing Doctors from Asking About Gun Ownership

Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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On July 25, 2014, in a surprising and disappointing decision, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit upheld a Florida state law that limits doctors’ ability to speak to their patients about gun safety.[1] Dubbed the “gag rule,” this law prevents doctors from even asking patients about gun ownership as part of routine care to prevent the potentially devastating effects of gun violence. The decision reverses a U.S. District Court’s 2012 decision, which invalidated the law on the grounds that it violates physicians’ First Amendment rights and “chills practitioners’ speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient.”[2]

Gun violence is a public health epidemic in the U.S. and of great concern to health care providers. Over 7,000 children are hospitalized or killed due to gun violence every year.[3] Extensive research has shown that the presence of a gun in a home makes its residents less safe. A national study of those who died from accidental shootings showed that victims were more than three times more likely to have had a gun in their home as those in the control group.[4] The danger of unintentional shootings is especially grave for homes with childrenEighty-nine percent of unintentional shooting deaths of children occur in the home—and most of these deaths occur when children are handling a loaded gun in their parents’ absence.[5]

Doctors can play an important role in reducing childhood death and injury from guns. According to one recent study, 64% of individuals who received verbal firearm storage safety counseling from their doctors improved their gun safety practices.[6]  Numerous medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), believe that gun violence can be lessened by providing patients and parents with information about gun safety. The AAP recommends that conversations about guns and gun safety start during a prenatal visit and be repeated every year as part of anticipatory guidance. Indeed, doctors routinely talk to their patients about a range of public health hazards in the home, including backyard swimming pools, tobacco, and household cleaners and toxins.

Yet under Florida’s gag rule, health care providers may only question patients about their firearms ownership when they believe such questions are “relevant” to each patient’s individual circumstances. The Circuit Court determined that doctors must decide on a “case-by-case basis” whether a conversation about gun safety is relevant. A doctor’s general belief that firearms are always relevant to preventative health care and routine questioning about gun safety could expose the physician to severe disciplinary action.

In reinstating the law, the Circuit Court found that the gag rule is a legitimate regulation of professional conduct that imposes only incidental burdens on speech and sufficiently advances the state’s interest in protecting patients’ privacy and Second Amendment rights. In his lengthy dissent, Judge Wilson agreed that the state’s “asserted interests in protecting the rights of firearm owners, including their privacy rights, their rights to be free from harassment and discrimination, and their ability to access medical care, are incredibly important.” However, the state “has offered no evidence to show that those rights are under threat, nor is there evidence…suggesting that the [law] will either directly or materially advance those interests.” If anything, “the record and common sense lead inexorably to the conclusion that children will suffer fewer firearm related injuries if they—and their parents—know more about firearm safety.”

Thus, Florida’s gag rule significantly limits doctors’ ability to speak to their patients in ways that could protect public health and save children’s lives. Judge Wilson goes on to suggest that “the poor fit between what the Act actually does and the interests it purportedly serves belies Florida’s true purpose in passing this Act: silencing doctors’ disfavored message about firearm safety.” As argued in the dissent, this law amounts to a content-based restriction and is a clear violation of doctors’ free speech rights.

In an effort to have the three-judge panel decision reversed, the physicians challenging the law will seek an en banc review from the 11th Circuit.

For more information, read the Law Center’s page on Gun Safety & Public Health and the American Bar Association’s resolution against “medical gag laws.” For an analysis of patients’ First Amendment rights to receive information from their doctors on firearm safety, read the Law Center’s amicus brief on this case.



[1] Wollschlaeger v. Florida, No. 12-14009 (11th Cir. Jul. 25, 2014).

[2] Wollschlaeger v. Farmer, 880 F. Supp. 2d 1251, 1267 (S.D. Fla., 2012).

[3] Dennis Thompson, 20 U.S. Kids Hospitalized Each Day for Gun InjuriesWebMD (Jan. 27, 2014), available at http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20140127/twenty-us-kids-hospitalized-each-day-for-gun-injuries-study.

[4] Douglas J. Wiebe, Firearms in U.S. Homes as a Risk Factor for Unintentional Gunshot Fatality, 35 Accident Analysis & Prevention 711, 713-14 (2003).

[5] Guohua Li et al., Factors Associated with the Intent of Firearm-Related Injuries in Pediatric Trauma Patients, 150 Archives Of Pediatric & Adolescent Med. 1160, 1162 (1996).

[6] Teresa L. Albright & Sandra K. Burge, Improving Firearm Storage Habits: Impact of Brief Office Counseling by Family Physicians, 16 J. of the Am. Bd. of Family Practice 40, 40 (2003).

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Louisiana

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Louisiana enacted a law in 2014 that prohibits gun possession by anyone convicted of the crime of “domestic abuse battery” within the last ten years from the completion of the sentence, probation, or parole. The law also prohibits gun possession by anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order.1

Louisiana law does not:

  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law; or
  • Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 2014 La. H.B. 753. []

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Washington

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Washington has no law authorizing or requiring the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants in Washington

Washington prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another on or after July 1, 1993:

  • Assault in the fourth degree;
  • Coercion;
  • Stalking;
  • Reckless endangerment;
  • Criminal trespass in the first degree; or
  • Violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.1

Washington defines “family or household members” as:

  • Spouses, former spouses;
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;
  • Adult persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
  • Persons age 16 or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship;
  • Persons age 16 or older with whom a person age 16 or older has or has had a dating relationship; and
  • Persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.2

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders and Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

Washington enacted a law in 2014 that mirrors the federal law by prohibiting gun possession by anyone subject to a final domestic violence protective or restraining order.3 The law also requires the court to order the abuser to surrender any firearms in his or her possession and file a proof of surrender with the court.  The law also requires law enforcement agencies to establish a procedure regarding surrendered firearms, and requires the administrative office of the courts to establish a form for the proof of surrender.4

An older provision of Washington law provides that, if a protective or restraining order states that the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by any party presents a serious and imminent threat to public health or safety or the health or safety of any individual, the court may:

  • Require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon;
  • Require the party to surrender any concealed pistol license issued by the State of Washington;
  • Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
  • Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a concealed pistol license.5

The court may also make such an order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the party used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a felony or committed any offense that renders him or her ineligible to possess a firearm.6 If the court makes this finding upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence, then it is required to make such an order.7

The court may order the temporary surrender of a firearm or other dangerous weapon without notice to the other party if it finds that irreparable injury could result if an order is not issued until the time for a response has elapsed.8 These requirements may be for a period of time less than the duration of the order.9 The court may require the party to surrender any firearm or dangerous weapon in his or her immediate possession or control or subject to his or her immediate possession or control to local law enforcement, his or her counsel, or to any person designated by the court.10 These provisions apply to:11

Domestic violence protective orders are available to family and household members as defined above, plus domestic partners and former domestic partners.12

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Washington Background Checks and Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a)(i). []
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.010(17) and 10.99.020(3). []
  3. 2014 WA H.B. 1840. []
  4. Id. []
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1), (4). []
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(2). []
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). []
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(4). []
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(6). []
  10. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(7). []
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). []
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 26.50.010(1), (2), 26.50.060. []

Mental Health Reporting in Wisconsin

Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is required to promulgate rules to convey information in a timely manner to the NICS database regarding individuals ordered not to possess a firearm under:

  • Wis. Stat. § 51.20(13)(cv)(1) (mental health commitments where the individual is found to be a danger to self or public safety);
  • § 51.45(13)(i)(1) (treatment for and commitment of an individual incapacitated by alcohol or suffering from alcoholism);
  • § 54.10(3)(f)(1) (individuals who have a guardian appointed for them); or
  • § 55.12(10)(a) (order of protective services or protective placement).2

DOJ is also required to promulgate rules to convey information to the NICS database for cancellations of court orders for these mental health-related issues.3

Court clerks are required to notify DOJ when a court determines an individual is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms because of any of the circumstances listed above, or subsequently restores the person’s eligibility to possess firearms.4 The clerk and DOJ may only disclose the information necessary to permit an accurate firearms restrictions record search.5 A 2014 law clarifies that this information may also be used in determining whether to issue or deny a concealed carry permit and in certain law enforcement investigations.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Wisconsin Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(1). Wisconsin law allows individuals in any of these categories to petition a court for an order restoring the person’s eligibility to possess firearms. []
  3. Wis. Stat. § 175.35(2g)(d)(2). See Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(2), 51.45(13)(i)(2)(c), 54.10(3)(f)(2)(c) and 55.12(10)(b)(3). []
  4. Wis. Stat. §§ 51.20(13)(cv)(4), 51.45(13)(i)(4), 54.10(3)(f)(4), 55.12(10)(d). []
  5. Id. See also Wis. Stat. § 51.30(4)(b)(28). []

Mental Health Reporting in Hawaii

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Federal law prohibits any person from selling or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2014, Hawaii enacted a law requiring courts to report people involuntarily committed, as inpatients or outpatients, to the Hawaii criminal justice center, which must in turn transmit this information to NICS.  This information must also be available to law enforcement officers for the purposes of Hawaii’s firearms permitting and registration laws.2 The normal rules of confidentiality do not apply. 3  The 2014 law also provided a procedure for people prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law due to mental illness to regain their gun eligibility. 4

Health care providers and public health authorities in Hawaii must disclose mental health information of persons seeking to purchase or own a firearm to county chiefs of police in response to requests for such information.5 This information is to be used solely for evaluating a person’s fitness to acquire or own a firearm.6 Hawaii requires applicants for permits to purchase or acquire firearms to authorize disclosure of mental health information. Applicants must sign a waiver when completing the application that allows the Chief of Police of the county issuing a permit access to any records that have a bearing on the mental health of the applicant.7

The Department of Health is required to keep a medical record of each person committed to the custody of the department or hospitalized because the person is dangerous and there is no less restrictive alternative available, because he or she lacks fitness to proceed in a criminal case, or because he or she has been acquitted on grounds of mental disorder or defect, is dangerous and is not a proper subject for conditional release.8

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Hawaii Background Checks and Hawaii Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-60.5. []
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-5(7). []
  4. 2013 HI H.B. 2246. []
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3.5. []
  6. Id. []
  7. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-2(c), 134-3.5(2). []
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 334-2.5(c)(4), 704-406(1), 704-411(1). []

Mental Health Reporting in Rhode Island

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2014, Rhode Island enacted a law requiring courts to report people who are involuntarily committed to mental institutions as inpatients to NICS, and provides an exception to the rules of confidentiality for this disclosure.2  The law also establishes a program for people prohibited from possessing guns under federal law due to mental illness to regain the gun eligibility.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Rhode Island Background Checks section and the section entitled Rhode Island Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. 2013 RI H.B. 7939 (enacted July 3, 2014). []

Mental Health Reporting in South Dakota

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2014, South Dakota enacted a law requiring the board of mental illness to report within seven working days any person involuntarily committed because he or she is a danger to self or others to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS. The law also requires a prosecuting attorney to report within seven working days any person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity or determined to be incompetent to stand trial to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS. The Attorney General must transmit this information to NICS. The law also provides a procedure for a person prohibited from possessing guns under federal law due to mental illness to regain his or her gun eligibility.2

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the South Dakota Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. 2014 S.D. H.B. 1229. []

Mental Health Reporting in Tennessee

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

A 2009 Tennessee law requires submission of mental health records to NICS. The state’s circuit courts, criminal courts, general sessions courts, county/probate courts and chancery courts that have ordered a commitment to a mental institution or that have adjudicated a person as mentally defective are required to report this fact to NICS and the Tennessee Department of Safety.2

This reporting must include the:

  • Complete name and all aliases of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, including any names that the individual may have had or currently has by reason of marriage or otherwise;
  • Case or docket number of the judicial commitment or adjudication as a mental defective;
  • Date judicial commitment was ordered or adjudication as a mental defective was made;
  • Private or state hospital or treatment resource to which the individual was judicially committed; and
  • Date of birth of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, if such information has been provided to the clerk.3

The aforementioned information is confidential and not subject to public inspection except if necessary for any proceedings for the suspension or revocation of handgun carry permits.4

Tennessee enacted a law in 2013 that requires clerks of court to confirm with the administrative office of the courts when these reports are made to NICS.  The law also requires these reports to be made as soon as practicable, but no later than the third business day following the date of such an order or adjudication.  If a clerk of court is unable to make a report to NICS, he or she must provide the administrative office of the courts with sufficient information so the office can make the report.  The law also details the results of noncompliance.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Tennessee Background Checks and Tennessee Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(b), (c), 16-11-206(b), (c), 16-15-303(g)(2), 16-16-120(b). The documentation and reporting requirements of mental health adjudications and judicial commitments to mental institutions discussed in this section apply to any clerk of court that maintains such records. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-115. []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(c), 16-11-206(c), 16-15-303(g)(3), 16-16-120(c). []
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 16-10-213(d), 16-11-206(d), 16-15-303(g)(4), 16-16-120(d). []
  5. 2013 TN S.B. 789. []

Mental Health Reporting in Virginia

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Pursuant to a 2008 Virginia law, clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (“Exchange”) a copy of any order for treatment issued upon a finding that a defendant, including a juvenile, is incompetent. Such treatment includes both inpatient treatment in a hospital and outpatient treatment.2

The 2008 Virginia law also requires clerks of court to certify and forward to the Exchange a copy of any order from a commitment hearing for: 1) involuntary admission to a mental health facility, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day; or 2) mandatory outpatient treatment, prior to the close of that business day.3 Clerks of court must also forward to the Exchange, as soon as practicable but no later than the close of business on the next business day, certification of any person who has agreed to voluntary admission in a mental health facility after being the subject of a temporary detention.4 Copies of the orders sent to the Exchange must be kept confidential in a separate file and used only to determine firearms eligibility. The Department of State Police (“DSP”) may forward “only a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase, or transfer a firearm to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”5 Clerks of court must certify and forward “forthwith” to the Exchange copies of any order adjudicating a person incapacitated as well as an order restoring a person’s capacity. The order and the accompanying forms must be kept confidential and in a separate file and may be used only to determine firearm eligibility.6

The chief law enforcement officer of a county or city must ensure that any acquittal by reason of insanity is reported to the Exchange immediately following the acquittal.7 In addition, court clerks and/or law enforcement (depending on the type of charge) are required to submit reports to the Exchange regarding certain criminal charges that remain pending due to mental incompetency or incapacity of the defendant. Court clerks must submit these reports electronically.8

Court clerks must certify and forward to the Exchange copies of any order granting a petition to restore the right to purchase, possess or transport a firearm to a person previously ineligible due to any of the conditions mentioned above.9 Such petitions must be granted if a court determines that the circumstances regarding the firearms prohibition and the person’s criminal history, treatment record, and reputation are such that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.10

In response to the Virginia Tech tragedy, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine issued an Executive Order on April 30, 2007 directing all executive branch employees and law enforcement officials to consider court-ordered outpatient treatment as involuntary admission to a mental health facility, and to report it to the State Police and NICS.11 In 2008, this order was partially codified by several of the provisions described above.

In 2014, Virginia enacted a law requires judges and special justices to forward the information above to the clerk of the court “as soon as practicable, but no later than the close of business on the next business day.”12

Note that a 2002 Virginia Attorney General Opinion determined that the Department of State Police is authorized to provide mental health information to the FBI so long as the information is kept confidential and used only to determine a person’s eligibility to possess, purchase or transfer a firearm.13

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Virginia Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-169.2. []
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-819. []
  4. Id. []
  5. Id. []
  6. Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-1014. []
  7. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-390. []
  8. Id. []
  9. Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2, 18.2-308.1:3. []
  10. Id. []
  11. Va. Exec. Order No. 50 (April 30, 2007). []
  12. 2014 VA H.B. 743. []
  13. Va. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 01-062, 2002 Va. AG LEXIS 72 (April 4, 2002). []

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Arizona

Posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Arizona prohibits a person from knowingly possessing a firearm if the person:

  • Has been convicted of a felony or who has been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to possess or carry a firearm has not been restored;
  • Is at the time of possession serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility;
  • Is at the time of possession serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence offense or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest or release on any other basis;
  • Is an undocumented alien or a nonimmigrant alien traveling with or without documentation in this state for business or pleasure or who is studying in this state and who maintains a foreign residence abroad, subject to certain exceptions;
  • Has been found to constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored;
  • Has been found incompetent, and not subsequently found competent; or
  • Has been found guilty except insane.1

Arizona also prohibits any person who was previously adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, from possessing, using or carrying a firearm within ten years from the date of his or her adjudication or release or escape from custody if the person was previously adjudicated for an offense that, if committed as an adult, would constitute:

  • Burglary in the first degree;
  • Burglary in the second degree;
  • Arson;
  • Any felony offense involving the use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
  • A “serious offense.”2

If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an offense that if committed by an adult would be a misdemeanor, the court may prohibit the juvenile from carrying or possessing a firearm while the juvenile is under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections or the juvenile court.3

Restoration of firearm rights: The time when a convicted felon or a person adjudicated delinquent may file for restoration of firearm rights depends on the seriousness of the offense; some felons and persons adjudicated delinquent are able to seek restoration as soon as two years after discharge from probation or imprisonment.4 In addition, in 2009, Arizona established a procedure through which a person who was found to constitute a danger to himself, herself, or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled may have his or her right to possess a firearm restored.5 This procedure was amended in 2011.6

An emergency or final protective order against domestic violence may prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order. For more information, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Arizona .

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Arizona.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3102(A)(4) and 13-3101(A)(7). Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(A)(5) also states that a conviction for a felony suspends the person’s right to possess a firearm. A person who is adjudicated delinquent under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341 for a felony also does not have the right to carry or possess a gun or firearm. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(H). []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3113. “Serious offense” is defined in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-706. []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341(R). []
  4. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-105(13), 13-905 – 13-912.01. []
  5. 2009 Ariz. ALS 145 § 1 (codified as Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-925). []
  6. 2011 Ariz. ALS 304 §§ 2-3. []