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Arizona 2024 Gun Laws: Carrying in Your Car? (Legal or Not?)

In Arizona, you can carry a loaded gun in your car without a permit as long as you are legally allowed to possess a firearm. Arizona is a constitutional carry state, meaning that you can carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Guns in Vehicles in Arizona

In Arizona, individuals who are 21 years old or older can legally carry a loaded handgun in their vehicle, whether concealed or openly visible, without needing a permit. This right also extends to concealed carry without a permit for adults over 21.

But if you are 18 to 20 years old, you can only open-carry the gun in your car—that means the gun or the case it’s in must be visible from the outside when looking into the vehicle. If the gun isn’t visible, it must be transported in a gun case, holster, glove compartment, or luggage. Whatever you use to transport the gun must be visible from outside the car when looking in.

It’s important to note that individuals classified as “prohibited possessors” are not allowed to carry firearms at all in Arizona. This includes individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others, have felony convictions, are currently serving a term in a correctional facility, or are on probation for domestic violence or a felony offense.

What to do if You Get Pulled Over With a Gun in Arizona

If you’re pulled over in Arizona while carrying a firearm, it’s crucial to remain calm and courteous. Cooperate with the officer, follow their instructions, and avoid sudden movements. If you feel the officer is not treating you respectfully, note their information and address the matter in court rather than escalate the situation.

Here are the steps to follow if you’re pulled over in Arizona with a gun in the car:

  • Turn on the ceiling light and keep your hands visible on the steering wheel.
  • If asked, inform the officer that you are carrying a firearm.
  • Politely inquire about the reason for the stop.

Remember: if you’re unsure of the situation, you are legally allowed to film the traffic stop on your cell phone. Especially if it seems like the person pulling you over might not be a real cop.

Where am I Prohibited from Carrying a Firearm in Arizona?

According to the Arizona State Department, carrying firearms is typically prohibited in the following locations [1]:

  • Establishments serving alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • Polling places on election days
  • K-12 school grounds
  • Commercial nuclear and hydroelectric generating stations
  • Military installations
  • Indian reservations
  • Game preserves
  • National parks
  • Correctional facilities
  • Federal buildings
  • Airports
  • Areas where federal, state, or local laws prohibit weapons
  • State or local government or private establishments or events when requested by the operator, sponsor, or agent
  • Public college or university grounds where carry has been prohibited by the governing board

What About Interstate Travel?

According to the SCLG, federal law typically allows individuals to transport unloaded guns to and from places where they are legally allowed to possess and carry them [2]. To comply, the firearms must be locked and inaccessible. If there is no trunk, the gun must be in a separate locked container from the glove compartment or console. Similarly, any ammunition must be locked and out of reach.

Note that state and local police may still arrest people for transporting guns in violation of state or local laws. But then the defendant can use federal law as an affirmative defense in an effort to get the charge dismissed.

Concealed Carry in Arizona

In Arizona, individuals who are not prohibited from owning a firearm and are at least 21 years old can carry a concealed weapon without a permit, as of July 29, 2010. Arizona was the third state in modern U.S. history, after Vermont and Alaska, followed by Wyoming, to allow concealed carry without a permit, and it is the first state with a large urban population to do so.

Arizona is classified as a “shall issue” state. Even though Arizona law allows concealed carry by adults without permit, concealed carry permits are still available and issued by the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit of the Arizona Department of Public Safety for purposes of reciprocity with other states or for carrying firearms in certain regulated places – agency stated.

To obtain a permit, applicants must take a training or hunter education class, submit a fingerprint card, and pay a $60 fee.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, and new permits are valid for five years. Renewal requires an application and a criminal background check. Arizona recognizes all valid out-of-state carry permits.

Arizona Gun Violence Statistics

  • In Arizona, the rate of gun deaths increased by 29% from 2012 to 2021, compared to a 39% increase nationwide.
  • The rate of gun suicides increased by 16%, and gun homicides increased by 57%, compared to a 19% increase and 73% increase nationwide, respectively.
  • The societal cost of gun violence in Arizona is the 17th highest in the US, amounting to $2,180 per resident each year.
  • Gun deaths and injuries cost Arizona $15.9 billion annually, with $253.2 million paid by taxpayers.
  • Regarding gun deaths by intent, 68% in Arizona are suicides and 28% are homicides, compared to 57% and 40% nationwide, respectively.

Source: EveryStat [3].

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References:

1. https://www.phoenix.gov/policesite/Documents/088411.pdf
2. https://www.shouselaw.com/az/blog/can-you-carry-a-loaded-gun-in-your-car-in-arizona/
3. https://everystat.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Gun-Violence-in-Arizona-2.pdf

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