Last Updated: April 17, 2017
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
As one of the free states in the nation, there aren’t too many laws you have to worry about as a gun-toting resident of Arizona.
This primer will lay out all you need to know about purchasing firearms and being a responsible gun owner.
Want to Buy a Gun?
In Arizona, there are a couple of rules to be aware of when buying a handgun or long gun.
How Do I Buy a Handgun?
To buy a handgun, you must:
- Be 18 or older;
- Provide an AZ driver’s license; and
- Not fall under any of the “prohibited persons” categories (more on this below)
If you’re buying the handgun from your local gun store or dealer, they will also have to conduct an instant background check.
But There’s a Way Around It
You can avoid having to go through the background check each time you buy a gun if you:
- Present a concealed carry permit; or
- Purchase the handgun through a private transfer
This will cut down on the cost and save some time every time you buy a gun (you’re buying more than one right?).
So What Makes You a “Prohibited Person”?
Arizona law considers you a person who is prohibited from purchasing a firearm if you:
- Have been legally declared a danger to yourself and others, and are under a court order for treatment
- Have been convicted of a felony involving violence of possession and use of a dangerous weapon
- Are on probation, home arrest or any type of release for a domestic violence or felony offense
- Are carrying out a term of imprisonment in a correctional or detention facility (It shouldn’t be a shock that you can’t own or purchase a gun while in jail.)
- Were adjudicated as delinquent and possess, use, or carry a firearm within 10 years from the date of adjudication or release, for an offense that would have, for an adult, been considered first or second degree burglary, arson, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault, sexual assault, or any felony involving the use or threatening showing of a deadly weapon.
If you don’t meet any of those conditions, you’re good to go!
Even If You Do…
There are some situations that may let you get that shiny Glock in the display case after all.
Even if you are a “prohibited person”, if you are ever pardoned of your convictions and have your firearms purchase rights restored, you will still be allowed to buy a handgun.
Sounds Good, Right?
While the state of Arizona only requires you to be 18 or older to buy a handgun, the federal government requires you to be 21 or older to buy a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer.
So if you are between 18 and 21, you cannot buy a handgun from a licensed gun dealer, even though Arizona is perfectly fine with it. But it is perfectly legal to purchase a handgun through a private sale.
However, you must be 21 or older to buy ammo, even if you are buying through a private sale. No one said laws had to make sense.
or those of you under 18, there’s some good news.
As long as you have written permission from your parent or guardian, you can buy all the firearms and ammo you want! So be nice to your parents!
Can’t Forget the Long Guns!
Fortunately, Arizona decided to make things easy on gun owners and made all firearms laws apply almost identically to both handguns and long guns.
To buy a long gun in Arizona, you need to:
- Be 18 or older;
- Provide a driver’s license (any state will do!); and
- Not fall under a “prohibited persons” category
All other laws that applied to purchasing handguns are the same here with long guns.
For firearms collectors, the state laws do not specifically provide any exceptions when buying antiques or replicas. This means that antique and replica firearms are treated the same as any other firearm.
There’s a Big Exception When Buying Guns
Under Arizona law, a gun that is permanently inoperable is not considered a firearm, so none of the laws on firearms apply to it, and can be treated like any other item you own. The downside is, it doesn’t go pew, so what’s the point?
Once you’ve got your shiny new gun, there are some rules about where you can bring it.
Can I Open Carry?
Arizona allows the open carry of a gun if you:
- Are 18 or older; and
- Are not prohibited from owning a firearm
These carry laws apply to both handguns and long guns.
For Those of You Under 18
Not to worry! There are some situations where a person under 18 is allowed to openly carry a firearm.
If you are between 14 and 17 years old, you can possess a firearm if you are:
- Hunting (with the permission of the landowner)
- At shooting practice
- Transporting an unloaded firearm on the way to or from a hunting trip
- Transporting an unloaded firearm to a range for practice between 5:00AM and 10:00PM (gotta get back before curfew!)
- Accompanied by a parent, grandparent or guardian
- Accompanied by a certified firearms safety instructor or certified hunting safety instructor, with permission from a parent, grandparent, or guardian
And Even Better…
There are no restrictions on carrying or using firearms when you are on private property you, your parents, grandparents, or guardian own, or lease. You can do whatever you want on your own property!
But What About Concealed Carry?
You do not need a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Arizona, if you:
- Are 21 or older; and
- Are not prohibited from owning a firearm
So Why Does the State Issue Permits?
You don’t need a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Arizona, but you will need an Arizona concealed carry permit to be allowed to carry concealed in other states when you travel.
For those of you interested in learning more about getting an Arizona permit, check out our dedicated CCW page.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Just because you are allowed to carry your gun, doesn’t mean you can carry it everywhere. Businesses can request you remove your firearm and place it in their custody when you are inside their store.
One big rule to pay attention to, is that guns are not allowed at schools, unless they are:
- Locked in a car; and
- Not visible (don’t leave your gun sitting on the passenger seat!)
Some other places where firearms are not permitted include:
- Polling places on election day
- Secured areas at airports
- At a jail
- A store that sells alcohol for immediate consumption (i.e. a bar; a liquor store is ok)
Common sense is a big part of being a responsible gun owner, and anywhere you think you and your gun may not be welcome, you may be better off leaving it unloaded, locked, and hidden away in the car.
One More Thing
If you are not carrying the gun on you, and are just transporting in your car, it is required to be in a container.
A container can be:
- A case;
- Holster or gun scabbard;
- A storage compartment of the car;
- The trunk of the car;
- A luggage case; or
- The glove compartment
What About Registration?
No registration of firearms is required in Arizona, so go and buy as many guns as your paycheck allows!
When Can I Use My Gun?
Arizona follows the Castle doctrine, and recently also adopted a “Stand Your Ground” statute.
Under the Castle doctrine, if you reasonably believe you or another person is in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury from someone else, you can use deadly force against that person to prevent:
- Arson of an occupied building;
- Illegal entry into a building or car to commit a felony or theft;
- Sexual assault;
- Child molestation;
- Sexual conduct with a minor;
- Armed robbery; or
- Aggravated assault.
The Stand Your Ground statute is similar, and basically says that you have no duty to retreat from somewhere you are legally allowed to be (i.e. your house, your car, a restaurant, etc.), and can use deadly force if any of the situations of the Castle doctrine would apply.
With that being said, always use your best judgement to decide what type of force is appropriate to defend yourself. Just because you do not have a duty to retreat does not mean you must use deadly force in every situation, even if you are justified in doing so.
And We’re Off!
Now that you know all you need to about Arizona gun laws, don’t forget to get a nice safe for that new gun collection you’ll be starting. A sturdy safe can keep your guns from sticky fingers when you’re out of the house, or just curious kids, for those of you with families.
If you want to start smaller, a gun cabinet, or even just a decent handgun safe may be a good investment, so that you have somewhere to put your shiny guns away after a day at the range.