Certified Criminal Specialist with 30+ Years of Experience and Taking a Client-Centered Approach
Federal and state law specify certain permitted and prohibited activity relating to weapons use and possession. Attorney Robert J. McWhirter has over 30 years of experience practicing law, and he is a certified specialist in Criminal Law by the State Bar of Arizona. He is equipped with the knowledge and skill you need to defend against your weapons charges, and he will develop a strong defense unique to your personal case.
Where Is Firearm Carry Prohibited?
In Arizona, recall that it is illegal to carry a firearm in the following places:
- businesses serving alcohol for consumption on the premises (except for peace officers and those with a concealed weapons permit (CCW));
- polling places on election days (except for peace officers);
- K-12 school grounds (except for peace officers);
- commercial nuclear & hydroelectric generating stations (except for peace officers);
- military installations;
- Native American reservations (depending on the tribe);
- game preserves;
- national parks;
- correctional facilities;
- federal buildings;
- airports (in or beyond security checkpoints);
- where federal, state, or local laws prohibit weapons;
- state or local government/private establishments or events when asked by the operator/sponsor/agent (except for peace officers);
- public college or university grounds where carry has been prohibited by governing board.
Individuals who carry concealed without a permit or who carry a deadly weapon into a polling place, school grounds, or public event may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
ARS 13-3107 also establishes that it is illegal to discharge a firearm within the limits of any municipality, unless the person is doing so:
- on a properly supervised range;
- in areas recommended by AZ Dept. of Game and Fish;
- for the control of nuisance wildlife (by permit only);
- by special permit of the municipality’s chief of police;
- by an animal control officer discharging their duties;
- firing blank cartridges;
- more than 1 mile from any occupied structure;
- in defense of self or others against an animal attack;
- in defense of self or others against criminal attack.
Who Is Prohibited from Possessing a Firearm?
Certain individuals may also be prohibited from possessing a firearm. According to ARS 13-3102, a person cannot legally possess a firearm if they are or have been:
- found to constitute a danger to self or to others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored;
- convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent for a felony and haven’t had their civil right to possess or carry a firearm restored by the court;
- serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility;
- serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence felony or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest, or any other release;
- an undocumented alien or non-immigrant alien traveling with or without documentation for business or pleasure or who is studying in Arizona and maintains a foreign residence.
Exceptions to the last category listed above are:
- non-immigrant aliens who possess a valid hunting license or permit issued by the state;
- non-immigrant aliens who enter the U.S. to participate in competitive target shooting event or to display firearms at a sponsored sports or hunting trade show devoted to competitive or sporting use of firearms;
- certain diplomats;
- designated foreign governments officials or distinguished foreign visitors;
- those who have received a waiver from the U.S. Attorney General.
Carrying in a Vehicle
It is generally permitted to carry a firearm in a vehicle, though this will depend on the individual’s age and mode of carry inside the vehicle. More specifically, Arizona’s 2010 “Constitutional Carry” law allows the following individual to carry a weapon loaded and concealed in their vehicle with or without a permit:
- any citizen who can legally own or purchase a firearm; and
- who is 21 years or older.
Note that firearms carried in a vehicle must be transported in one of the following ways:
- a case;
- a holster;
- a storage compartment;
- a trunk;
- a pack;
- a luggage; or
- a glove compartment of the means of transportation.
A.R.S. §13-3102 does permit citizens aged 18-20 to store a firearm in a vehicle, provided the firearm is transported as above. If the firearm is in a holster, it can be concealed anywhere in the vehicle without violating the law. However, this does not permit an 18-20-year-old to conceal an unholstered gun underneath their seat. They may openly carry a loaded firearm on their person while inside their vehicle provided that the firearm or holster in which the firearm is carried is visible.
Felony Weapons Offenses
Certain weapons violations could be considered felonies. In particular, the following are Class 6 felonies punishable by up to 1 year in prison:
- selling or transferring a deadly weapon to someone who is prohibited to have it;
- defacing a deadly weapon;
- possessing a defaced deadly weapon.
Class 4 felonies punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison are:
- manufacturing, selling, or possessing a prohibited weapon;
- possessing a deadly weapon if prohibited to (e.g., as a convicted felon);
- possessing a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony;
- entering a nuclear plant with a deadly weapon.
A weapons violation at the Class 3 felony level punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison could be:
- discharging a firearm in an occupied area in the furtherance of gang activity;
- giving or selling a firearm to another person knowing that they are going to use it to commit a felony;
- using a deadly weapon in an act of terrorism.
Charged with a Weapons Violation in Arizona?
Arizona has numerous laws establishing prohibited weapons or firearms activity and use. The penalties could range from the misdemeanor level to the felony level, so it is important that you start on your defense immediately. Even if you do not have a permit to carry, you may not actually be in violation of the law in certain situations. Contact the Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter for professional representation immediately. Attorney McWhirter will put his more than 3 decades of experience to use as he champions your case in court.
Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter online or at (480) 690-9097 to learn more.
- Over 30 Years of Legal Experience
- Personal, One-on-One Attention
- Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
- Former Federal Public Defender
Constitutional Lawyers in the Southwest