Arizona's Concealed Carry Laws

Arizona’s concealed carry permit program began in 1994. As of the end of 2018, more than 338,000 Arizonans are active CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permit-holders – although since 2010, CCW permits have not been required, and individuals who are at least 21 years old may carry a concealed weapon in Arizona without a CCW permit.

As of the end of 2018, a new CCW permit costs $60, and it usually takes between two and three months for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to issue the permit to a successful applicant. CCW permits remain useful, especially to Arizonans who travel to other states, which have reciprocal arrangements recognizing Arizona CCW permits, and to Arizonans who regularly visit certain regulated places.

This article provides a brief introduction to Arizona’s concealed carry laws, which are incorporated into the Criminal Code at Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 13-3112. Other statutes, especially A.R.S. § 13-3102 but also A.R.S. § 13-3111 and A.R.S. § 4-229 (among others), are also directly applicable.

What is concealed carry?

Concealed carry (or carrying a concealed weapon) is the practice of carrying a weapon (such as a handgun) in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity.

Who is eligible to obtain a concealed carry weapon permit?

DPS is required by Arizona law to issue a concealed carry permit to any person who applies for one so long as the applicant meets each of the following conditions:

  1. the applicant is a resident of Arizona or a United States citizen
  2. the applicant is 21 years of age or older or is at least 19 years of age and provides evidence of current military service or proof of honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions from the United States armed forces, the United States armed forces reserve, or a state national guard
  3. the applicant is not under indictment for and has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony unless that conviction has been expunged, set aside, or vacated, or the applicant’s rights have been restored and the applicant is currently not a prohibited possessor under state or federal law
  4. the applicant does not suffer from mental illness and has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution
  5. the applicant is not unlawfully present in the United States
  6. the applicant has demonstrated competence with a firearm and provides adequate documentation that they have satisfactorily completed a training program or demonstrated competence with a firearm in any state or political subdivision in the United States

When may I (not) bring a concealed carry weapon into a business establishment that has a liquor license?

Under Arizona law a person is permitted carry a concealed handgun into a business establishment that has a liquor license unless that establishment has posted a sign that clearly prohibits the possession of weapons on the premises. Such a sign must:

  1. be posted in a conspicuous location accessible to the general public and immediately adjacent to the liquor license posted on the premises
  2. contain a pictogram that shows a firearm within a red circle and a diagonal red line across the firearm
  3. contain the words “no firearms allowed pursuant to A.R.S. section 4-229.”

When may carrying a concealed weapon constitute weapons misconduct?

Under Arizona law a person commits misconduct involving weapons by knowingly doing any of the following:

  1. carrying a deadly weapon (other than a pocket knife) concealed on their person or within their immediate control in or on a means of transportation either (a) in the furtherance of a serious criminal offense or other violent crime or (b) when contacted by a law enforcement officer (during a lawful traffic or criminal investigation, arrest, or detention, or an investigatory stop by a law enforcement officer that is based on reasonable suspicion that an offense has been or is about to be committed) and failing to accurately answer the officer if the officer asks whether the person is carrying a concealed deadly weapon
  2. carrying a deadly weapon (other than a pocket knife) concealed on his person or concealed within his immediate control in or on a means of transportation if the person is under 21 years of age

this does not apply to:

(a) a person in their dwelling, on their business premises or on real property owned or leased by them or their parent, grandparent, or legal guardian; or
(b) a firearm that is carried in:

(i) a manner where any portion of the firearm or holster in which the firearm is carried is visible

(ii) a holster that is wholly or partially visible

(iii) a scabbard or case designed for carrying weapons that is wholly or partially visible

(iv) luggage

(v) a case, holster, scabbard, pack or luggage that is carried within a means of transportation or within a storage compartment, map pocket, trunk, or glove compartment of a means of transportation)

  1. manufacturing, possessing, transporting, selling or transferring a prohibited weapon
  2. possessing a deadly weapon or prohibited weapon if such person is a prohibited possessor
  3. selling or transferring a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor
  4. defacing a deadly weapon
  5. possessing a defaced deadly weapon knowing the deadly weapon was defaced
  6. Using or possessing a deadly weapon during the commission of any felony drug offense
  7. Discharging a firearm at an occupied structure in order to assist, promote or further the interests of a criminal street gang, a criminal syndicate, or a racketeering enterprise
  8. Unless specifically authorized by law, entering any public establishment or attending any public event and carrying a deadly weapon on his person after a reasonable request by the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event or the sponsor’s agent to remove his weapon and place it in the custody of the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event for temporary and secure storage of the weapon
  9. Unless specifically authorized by law, entering an election polling place on the day of any election carrying a deadly weapon
  10. Possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds
  11. Unless specifically authorized by law, entering a nuclear or hydroelectric generating station carrying a deadly weapon on his person or within the immediate control of any person
  12. Supplying, selling or giving possession or control of a firearm to another person if the person knows or has reason to know that the other person would use the firearm in the commission of any felony
  13. Using, possessing or exercising control over a deadly weapon in furtherance of an act of terrorism, or possessing or exercising control over a deadly weapon knowing or having reason to know that it will be used to facilitate an act of terrorism
  14. Trafficking in weapons or explosives for financial gain in order to assist, promote, or further the interests of a criminal street gang, a criminal syndicate, or a racketeering enterprise.

Who are prohibited possessors?

Under Arizona law a person is prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon if that person:

  1. has been found to constitute a danger to self or to others or to have a persistent or acute disability or grave disability pursuant to court order pursuant to section 36-540, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored pursuant to section 13-925
  2. has been convicted within or without this state of a felony or who has been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to possess or carry a gun or firearm has not been restored
  3. is at the time of possession serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility
  4. 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, or who is serving a term of probation or parole pursuant to the interstate compact for the supervision of adult offenders
  5. 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 (unless the person is (1) a nonimmigrant alien who possess a valid hunting license or permit that is lawfully issued by a state in the United States; (2) a nonimmigrant alien who entered 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; (3) a particular kind of diplomat; or (4) an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor as designated by the United States department of state; or the recipient of a waiver from the United States attorney general)
  6. has been found mentally incompetent
  7. has been found guilty except insane.

Sources and further reading

Arizona Criminal Code (A.R.S. Title 13): https://www.azleg.gov/arsDetail/?title=13

Arizona Department of Public Safety – “Concealed Weapons and Permits”: https://www.azdps.gov/services/public/cwp

City of Phoenix – “Arizona Weapons and Firearms Laws FAQs”: https://www.phoenix.gov/policesite/Documents/088411.pdf

United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – “Firearms Q&As”: https://www.atf.gov/questions-and-answers/firearms-qas

United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – “State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms [Arizona]”: https://www.atf.gov/file/117151/download

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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