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We are back after quite a long break…

May 16, 2013 AZ CCW Laws Comments Off

Hello to all of our readers!

After a long hiatus, we will be updating the site again.  Look for lots of new content to be added over the coming weeks.  We will also be updating older posts to reflect the current Arizona CCW laws.

Thanks for your patience.

Doug Little, Owner and Director of Training

Armed Personal Defense

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What did the “Campus Concealed Carry” bill really say and why did the Governor veto it?

May 5, 2011 AZ CCW Laws, Campus Concealed Carry, Legal Issues Comments Off

Senate Bill 1467 was a very simply bill.  It would have simply amended the existing ARS statute 13-2911 with a single substantive paragraph.  The paragraph would have preserved the rights of the governing board of an educational institution to adopt rules to preserve public order on that institutions property which would govern the conduct of students, faculty, staff and visitors.  No changes there.  They could also still establish appropriate penalties for violation of those policies including suspension, expulsion and ejection from the property.

All the new law would have done would have been to make it impossible for the governing board to enforce a policy or rule that prohibits the lawful possession or carrying of a weapon on a “Public Right-of-Way”.  Now, what does that mean really…

Under current law, let say you happened to be walking down University Drive in Tempe.  As soon as you cross Mill Avenue traveling east on University you are on campus.  If you happen to be carrying a lawfully owned, properly permitted concealed firearm, you are now violating ASU policy and can be ejected from campus or charged with criminal trespass or misconduct with a firearm or both.  You are now a criminal.  Your crime…walking down a ‘public right-of-way’ in the City of Tempe.  The same thing applies if you happen to be driving in a car or riding a bus.

University Drive, Veteran’s Way and McAllister Avenue are all major thoroughfares through the City of Tempe that happen to go directly through the ASU Campus.  Plus there are dozens of other streets, Forest Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, 6th Street, 7th Street, all of which have businesses, restaurants and shops, all of which are now “off limits” to anyone carrying a lawfully concealed firearm.

Notice that I used the word ‘lawfully’.  Since most criminals intent on some type of mayhem are not particularly picky about breaking the law (it kind of goes with the territory for criminals), I would hazard a guess that the University policy against concealed carry on campus won’t bother or deter them.  Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors may need to conduct necessary business on campus and to avoid problems with the policy may choose to remain unarmed.  This creates a great environment if you are a criminal.  As a criminal, you stand a good chance that few if any of the victims you might find on a college campus will be in a position to defend themselves.

While the law passed through the Legislature by a comfortable margin, the primary opposition came from the Democrat members of both the House and Senate.  In the House, 6 Republicans voted with the Democrats on this law.  Those six were:  Kate Brophy McGee, District 11; Heather Carter, District 7; Rick Gray, District 9; Russ Jones, District 24; Bob Robson, District 20; and Michelle Ugenti, District 8.  That Representative Ugenti voted against this was a bit of a surprise since during her campaign her slogan was “the Republican Party meets the Tea Party”.  Last time I checked, the Tea Party did not support restricting individual rights, particularly with respect to firearms.

The vote in the Senate was also largely along party lines with seven Democrats voting against the bill.  Interestingly, Democrat Senators Aboud and Sinema did not vote on this one.

University administrators lobbied hard against this one using the same tired arguments.  Let’s take a “point, counterpoint” look at the top three that are always used by those opposed to concealed carry on campus.

1.  Firearms on campus will increase the incidence of violent crime. In truth, this one is not borne out by statistics.  There are 11 college that allow concealed carry on campus.  There has not been a single incident, a single gun accident or a single gun theft.  Statistics show that licensed concealed handgun owners are 5 times less likely than non-permit holders to commit violent crimes.

2.  College students are not emotionally stable enough to be trusted with firearms. First, anyone wishing to get a concealed carry permit must be at least 21 years of age.  Personally, I know some 30 somethings that are not ‘emotionally stable enough to be trusted with firearms’.  There has to be an age threshold at some point.  Frankly,  this argument is insulting and condescending to thousands of responsible, mature students.  What about veterans and adult students?  What about the 18 year olds that are in military reserve service?  Are you starting to see how ridiculous this argument is?

3.  The answer to criminal violence on college campus is not ‘more guns’. Statistics fly in the face of this one for anyone who cares to look.  When states adopt broadly based concealed carry legislation, the rate of violent crime generally drops by a factor of 8% to 10% in the FIRST YEAR after such legislation is passed.  Criminals are now more concerned about the possibility that their prospective victim may be armed and literally do not commit as many crimes against persons.  Without the means to defend themselves on campus, the likelihood that a student will become a victim of a violent crime actually increases.

When asked about her veto, Governor Brewer stated that the term ‘public right-of-way’ was too vague and it was for this reason that she vetoed the bill.  Wikipedia says that a public right-of-way is defined as:  ”the right to travel unhindered, to access a route regardless of land ownership or any other legality”.  Seems pretty clear to me.

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Arizona Constitutional Carry About to Become Law…

April 15, 2010 2nd Amendment Issues, AZ CCW Laws Comments Off

A bill that would eliminate the requirement for Arizona residents to have a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona has passed both houses of the Arizona Legislature and is awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.  If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect 90 days after the close of the current legislative session.  Since the session usually ends in late June, this would mean the law would actually take effect sometime in late September.  If the governor does not sign or veto the legislation within 5 days of final passage, it will become law without her signature.

Arizona’s Senate Bill 1102 makes sweeping changes to the current law that requires an Arizona resident to possess a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.  Arizona has traditionally been what is described as an “Open Carry” state where citizens may carry a firearm openly anywhere it is legal to have a firearm.

In order to carry concealed in those same places, residents needed to have a “CCW permit” which was obtained by taking an 8 hour training course, qualifying with a firearm and passing a criminal background check.  This law would eliminate the permit requirement but not the permit program.

The key element in the new law is that a concealed carry permit is not necessary “unless required by any other law”.  For example, to carry a concealed firearm in a restaurant, Arizona law requires that you have a concealed weapons permit.  Similarly, federal law requires a state issued permit if you wish to carry concealed in a national park.  Anyone wishing to carry a concealed firearm in another state will need an Arizona CCW permit in order to have reciprocal privileges outside of Arizona.

Residents will still be able to get a CCW permit by taking a course that meets the requirements of the new law and submitting an application to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  Courses that will satisfy the requirement include any NRA course, any approved Hunter Safety course or a course from an approved CCW instructor.

The courses offered by CCW instructors would probably be the best bet since they are specifically geared towards concealed carry and most instructors provide the application and fingerprinting service as part of their courses.

Opponents of the law feel that the current CCW process is a good one and has worked well for over 14 years.  Most feel that the minimal safety and marksmanship training requirement and education in the laws relating to the use of lethal or physical force in self defense are important for anyone carrying a concealed firearm.

Advocates of the new law argue that Second Amendment rights should not be constrained by concealed carry laws.  They also point to the fact that in 12 states across the US, concealed carry permits are issued without any training requirement or background check.  They further argue that criminal penalties associated with concealed carry can result in severe penalties for people that might inadvertently cover their firearm while carrying openly.

If signed into law, Arizona will become the third and the most heavily populated state to adopt ‘constitutional concealed carry’.  Currently only Alaska and Vermont permit concealed carry without a permit.

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Open Carry in a Vehicle in Arizona

March 25, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Vehicle Carry Comments Off

Question:  I am coming from out of state and was wondering if it was legal for me to open carry in the state even though I don’t have an Arizona CCW permit.  My other question is can I open carry in a car or does the handgun have to be cased and loaded?

Answer:  You can open carry legally in Arizona and do not need an AZ CCW permit.  You must have a AZ CCW permit if you conceal the firearm or you could be arrested.

Regarding open carry in a vehicle, you can do that as well, however it is subject to a lot more interpretation.

Let’s say you were carrying on your right hip and you were seat-belted into your vehicle on the driver’s side.  The law states that it must be “obvious to the casual observer that you are in possession of a firearm”.  If you were involved in a traffic stop and a police officer approached on the driver’s side, would they be able to see your firearm?  Probably not.  There have been different interpretations by different jurisdictions in the Phoenix area whether this constitutes open or concealed carry.

To avoid a problem in your vehicle.  I would have it cased and in the glove box or some other storage compartment in the vehicle.  That way you won’t have any legal issues if you are involved in a traffic stop…

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Prior Felony Conviction and Firearms Ownership…

February 22, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Legal Issues, State Firearms Laws Comments Off

Question: I am a convicted felon who served 5 years in ADOC for failing to file income taxes. My sentence expired it 11/98. I have had no further contact with law enforcement. I am 65 years old and would like to take up pistol shooting at a range as a hobby. I want to to all this legally. What steps should I take? I live in Yavapai county.

Answer: The first step should be to look into having your conviction expunged.  There is a legal process in Arizona that allows a non-violent convicted felon to petition the court to “set aside” the conviction and expunge your record.  Since it has been more than 10 years since completing your sentence, you are well past the time threshold to be able to do this.  I’d suggest that you speak with an attorney about how to get this process started.  If you can’t afford an attorney, someone in the county attorney’s office may be able to point you in the direction of resources available in Yavapai County that could help you.

Once you file the appropriate paperwork and have the conviction set aside, your civil rights including your right to own a firearm will be restored.  Then you will legally be able to purchase a pistol to pursue your new hobby.

On a final note, I also encourage you to seek out some good firearms training once you can legally own a firearm again.  Good training from a qualified instructor will make a big difference by helping you build quality skills and teaching you how to handle a firearm safely…


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Visiting Arizona with Firearms…

February 22, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Reciprocity Comments Off

Question:  I live in the state of Massachusetts where I hold a Class A Large Capacity License to Carry. I understand that AZ is a Shall Issue state. I am a corporate pilot who travels to Scottsdale frequently and would like to bring my firearms with me to shoot at a range. Will I run into any issues being a non resident bringing lawfully owned firearms into your state?

Answer:  You won’t have any issues bringing your firearms here.   Since you are a permit holder in Massachusetts, your permit is recognized in Arizona.  As you may know, Arizona is a very ‘gun friendly’ place.  You would be able to bring your firearms here with you even if you didn’t have a license to carry in Massachusetts…

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"Not Guilty" on Domestic Violence Charge – Can I Get a CCW?

February 22, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, CCW Administrative Rules Comments Off

Question: A few years ago I was charged with DV-Criminal Damage. I completed Diversion and the charge was dropped, with a “Not Guilty” plea. Will this prohibit me from purchasing firearms or obtaining a CCW?

Answer: You should not have a problem purchasing a firearm or getting a CCW as long as the charge was dropped.  You may find delays occurring during your background check since there will a record showing an initial charge that will have to be checked for the final disposition, but ultimately you should not have any issues.

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Surrender of Firearms During Law Enforcement Traffic Stop…

February 22, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Firearms Safety, Vehicle Carry Comments Off

Question:  Yesterday I was driving through Superior AZ and I got pulled over.  I had my hands at ten and two position on the steering wheel, the window down  and the car off. When the officer got to the window, I announced I was carrying and a permit holder. He immediately reached for the gun on my left hip. I protested and said “wait why do you need to take my gun, it is loaded and I do not want you to shoot me with my own gun.” He said “it was his prerogative to take anyone’s weapon.” He pulled my weapon from my holster and asked me to come back to his car. While back at his car there were at least 4 times he pointed my own gun at me. Not like he was drawn out on me but just carelessly running the barrel across my body. My question is simple.  Am I required to surrender my weapon? I know if asked I have to present my permit. This officers had me thinking I would be shot with my own gun.

Answer: Overall, your initial response to the traffic stop was exactly correct.  I recommend that permit holders keep their hands on the wheel, roll down the window and provide the information that they are a permit holder and armed without any prompting on the part of the officer.  Typically, this will result in a more comfortable stop for both the citizen and the officer.

To answer your question directly, the officer is legally permitted to take control of your firearm for the duration of the traffic stop and near every single officer will do just that.  They are permitted to do this for their own safety.  When you consider the number of police officers that are killed in traffic stops each year, you can see why this is important to them.  You might recall that Lt. Eric Shuhandler of Gilbert PD was just killed in a traffic stop at the end of January.

From the way you have described the situation that occurred during your particular traffic stop, the officer could have used more care in handling your firearm and definitely should have been more conscious of the muzzle direction.  In all of our courses, we hammer the issues of safe muzzle direction and keeping your finger off the trigger even when handling an unloaded firearm.  We do this to insure absolute safety when handling a firearm.  Sounds like the officer in question could have done a better job of safe gun handling.  For future reference, there would be nothing wrong in politely suggesting to the officer that you do not wish to be swept with the muzzle of a firearm if something like this were to occur again…

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Obtaining a CCW…Advantages and Disadvantages

February 11, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, State Firearms Laws Comments Off

Question:  My wife and I have attended a recent CCW class and now question whether or not to finish the process and obtain an AZ CCW permit.  In your opinion what are the the real advantages (other than tactical) to being issued the card. Besides being placed on another list for the anti-gun establishment to point fingers at, the class we attended seem to bring up issues of higher accountability w/o significantly higher advantages to open carry.  Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Answer: This is a really good question and one I have been asked many times by prospective students.  First, let me dispel a couple of myths.  The fact that you have been issued a CCW permit is not publicly available information.  It is only available to law enforcement, so having a CCW does not put you on a ‘target list’ for the anti-gun establishment.  Also, there is no greater or lesser accountability whether you openly carry or carry concealed.  The laws regarding the use of firearms for self defense are exactly the same.  If someone carries a firearm they do have a great deal of responsibility and accountability, much more so than someone who does not carry at all, but there is no difference in accountability between open and concealed carry.

In terms of advantages to having an Arizona CCW permit, there are several things you should consider.

First, should you purchase a firearm in the future, you will not have to go through the background check if you have a valid CCW permit.  You can simply present your permit and driver licenses and walk right out with the firearm (after paying, of course!).

A second advantage would derive from being able to carry a firearm in your vehicle without having to keep it in a case or making sure it is visible to qualify for open carry.  When transporting a firearm in a vehicle without a permit, the firearm cannot be concealed and immediately accessible.  With a permit, you don’t have to worry about it.

A third possible advantage is a little more subjective.  If you are involved in a traffic stop with a law enforcement officer and have an AZ CCW and inform the officer that you have a permit, it lets them know that you have no serious criminal background.  After all, to get the card, you have to attend a firearms safety course and have a criminal background check done .  If you have a permit, it basically tells the law enforcement officer that you are a ‘good guy’ which makes the rest of the stop go more easily for both of you.

Another advantage is the reciprocal privileges that many states offer to concealed carry permit holders.  The Arizona CCW permit is currently recognized in 30 states.  This can be a nice advantage if you travel to those states.

In my view there are some very real advantages to concealed carry versus open carry from the standpoint of privacy.  It is no one’s business but your own if you decide to have a permit and lawfully engage in concealed carry.  Open carry, while legal in Arizona, puts everyone you come in contact with on notice that you have a firearm.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but in my view, I would rather preserve the element of surprise and avoid unwanted attention that open carry can sometimes bring.

Per your request, I have specifically avoided the discussion of any ‘tactical issues’.

Since you have completed the course, there is very little additional effort required to get the permit.  I’d suggest that you complete the process.  Nothing in the law requires you to carry concealed or carry a firearm at all for that matter, but after doing all the hard work to attend the class, it seems only natural to complete the process assuming there are not financial issues that make the $60 application fee a hardship…

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Legally Carrying a Firearm on School Grounds in Arizona…

January 19, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Vehicle Carry Comments Off

Question: I understand that is it illegal to bring a firearm on or near school grounds in Arizona. I went to the NRA website and they provide gun laws for each state. And I went to Arizona gun laws and I found this.

“It is unlawful to possess a deadly weapon on grade or high school grounds. This shall not apply to an unloaded firearm within a means of transportation under the control of an adult, provided, if the adult leaves the vehicle, it shall be locked and the unloaded firearm shall not be visible, or for a program approved by the school.”

Would this still be illegal to do? Thanks.

Answer: Legally, an adult in Arizona is permitted to have a firearm in their vehicle on school grounds if the firearm is under their direct control, the firearm is unloaded and out of sight.  This permits a legally armed parent or guardian to pick up or drop off a student at a school without any legal issues.  If they need to go into the school for any reason, the firearm must remain locked in the vehicle, unloaded and out of sight.

The only time it is legal to bring a firearm into a school would be if the firearm were being used in a program approved by the school and the person in possession of the firearm had the expressed permission of the primary administrator of the school.

In general, this same law is also applied to any college or university campus in Arizona.

I hope this clarifies how you are legally permitted to bring a firearm on school grounds.

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Featured Content:

We are back after quite a long break…

May 16, 2013

Hello to all of our readers! After a long hiatus, we will be updating the site again.  Look for lots of new content to be added over the coming weeks.  We will also be updating older posts to reflect the current Arizona CCW laws. Thanks for your patience. Doug Little, Owner and Director of Training [...]

What did the “Campus Concealed Carry” bill really say and why did the Governor veto it?

May 5, 2011

Senate Bill 1467 was a very simply bill.  It would have simply amended the existing ARS statute 13-2911 with a single substantive paragraph.  The paragraph would have preserved the rights of the governing board of an educational institution to adopt rules to preserve public order on that institutions property which would govern the conduct of [...]

Governor Brewer Signs Multiple New Firearms Laws in Arizona.

May 5, 2011

Governor Jan Brewer signed a total of six new firearms related laws in the days following the end of the current session of the Arizona Legislature.  While some of the most controversial laws, specifically the Firearms Omnibus Bill and Campus Concealed Carry bills were vetoed by Governor Brewer, below you can find a synopsis of [...]

U.S. House of Representatives Considering National Right to Carry Reciprocity Bill…

May 4, 2011

Urge Your Representative To Cosponsor H.R. 822, The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act Of 2011 Friday, April 08, 2011 Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have introduced vital legislation that will enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states. There are now only [...]

Problems with Interstate Firearms Transfers

July 20, 2010

Question:  I have bought a gun from an individual through Gunsamerica.( Gunsamerica is the broker).  I, the buyer live in Tennessee. The seller lives in Ohio.  I sent him a copy of the a local dealer’s FLL and a check for the gun. The local dealer requested a copy of the seller’s drivers license.   The [...]

Best Caliber Handgun for Self-Defense

July 20, 2010

Question:  I am wondering what would be the most effective handgun to carry in an apocalyptic, doomsday type scenario. I’ve read the .45 has the best knockdown power, the .357 has the best metal penetrating ability, and the 9mm would be the most common ammunition around.  I’m fairly sure that each of the above calibers [...]

Felony Conviction and Federal Home Protection Act

July 20, 2010

Question:  I am a felon and had to do a prison sentence.  My house was broke into twice while I was in bed asleep and both times I fled the home for my safety.  The police are telling me there is no true way to protect myself inside my home and that felons cannot possess [...]

Arizona Constitutional Carry About to Become Law…

April 15, 2010

A bill that would eliminate the requirement for Arizona residents to have a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona has passed both houses of the Arizona Legislature and is awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.  If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect 90 days [...]

Open Carry in a Vehicle in Arizona

March 25, 2010

Question:  I am coming from out of state and was wondering if it was legal for me to open carry in the state even though I don’t have an Arizona CCW permit.  My other question is can I open carry in a car or does the handgun have to be cased and loaded? Answer:  You [...]

Felony Conviction and Firearms Possession…

March 8, 2010

Question:  I was convicted of a felony in 1998.  Can I legally possess a firearm? Answer: Since you didn’t tell me where you lived, I will have to assume that you are in Arizona.  Unless you have had your felony conviction set aside, you cannot legally possess a firearm.  Since it has been a very [...]