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What is "carrying concealed"?

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

Question: Do you have to have a ccw to conceal a handgun on your body if it is holstered, and locked into place..is that considered having “immediate use”?
Answer: If you have a concealed firearm on your person in Arizona, you must have an AZ CCW permit to carry it legally.  Carrying a concealed firearm on your person without a Arizona CCW permit is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $2500.

It does not matter if it is holstered or not, if it concealed, it requires that you have a permit.  You may openly carry legally, but to be open carry the firearm must be “wholly or partially visible” and it must be “obvious to the casual observer that you are in possession of a firearm”.

The “immediate use” factor that you reference is only applicable when carrying in a vehicle and is used to determine if you are considered to be “transporting” a firearm or “concealing” a firearm in a vehicle.  If you have a firearm in a vehicle, and if the firearm is concealed and is “immediately accessible”, then you must have a AZ CCW permit.  If the firearm is contained within a case, and that case is inside a storage compartment (glove box, console, etc.), then the firearm are generally thought of as being “transported” and no Arizona CCW permit is required.

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New Bill Proposed That Would Permit Concealed Carry on a College Campus

On December 17th, 2009, a new piece of proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1011 was filed in the Arizona Senate.  The bill, introduced by Senators Harper, Alvarez, Verschoor, Russell Pearce and Sylvia Allen would make it legal for any Faculty member of a community college or university in Arizona to carry a concealed weapon on campus under existing state laws regarding lawful concealed carry.

The bill does not provide for concealed carry by staff or students, only faculty members.

The logical questions to ask might include:

1.  Since many community college and university faculty members are liberal in their political view and in many cases do not support further expansion of gun rights, would the law really make any difference.

2.  Why have university and community college staff been excluded from the law?  If faculty is permitted to concealed carry, then why not staff members?

3.  Why exclude students that would otherwise be permitted to carry a concealed firearm?  In order to receive a concealed carry permit in Arizona, a person must be at least 21 years of age.  Community colleges in particular tend to cater to large numbers of adults that wish to continue their formal education.  In many cases, there are more adults attending community colleges than persons between the ages of 18 and 21.

While this bill is certainly a step in the right direction, it seems to arbitrarily and unreasonably limit the scope of who should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm on a community college or university campus.  Let’s hope that we see some expansion of the persons included in the legislation as it works its way through the legislative process.

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Elderly Homeowners, Attempted Burglary and the Castle Doctrine…

Question: My mother is over 65 and in ill health and has been tormented by numerous attempts by someone to either (peep) in her windows; tamper with the windows, etc.  She is thinking of purchasing a firearm for protection since my father, who is 73 and still works, travels away from the home 4 days a week.  I am afraid that if she does get a firearm and someone tries to break into her home she will be so terrified as to shoot and ask questions later.  Please advise.

Answer: It’s a sad commentary, but in many cases the elderly are targeted by criminals since they are generally one of the more weak and potentially helpless members of our community.  A former student of mine just told me about an incident where there was an attempted home invasion at his father’s house.  You mother should certainly take some steps to protect herself.  One thing she may want to consider is purchasing a burglar alarm that she can activate with a panic button remote that she can keep on her person when she is at home.

If she is intent on purchasing a gun, I’d recommend that she get some training with it and consider attending an Arizona Concealed Weapons Permit course, not so that she can carry concealed, but rather so that she has a better understanding of the laws that govern the use of deadly force and when it can justifiably be used.  We see a lot of older men and women in our courses for this reason.

If she did purchase a gun for her own protection, should someone break into her home she would be justified in using the firearm in self defense if the burglar entered her home illegally and she was in reasonable fear of serious injury, sexual assault or being killed.  As far as shooting first and asking questions later, as long as the criminal was inside her home, she would be on pretty firm legal ground.  If they were still outside, there is an argument that could be made that there was no ‘credible’ threat until the criminal entered her home and she was therefore not justified in using lethal force.  One of the reasons for taking the class is to understand under what circumstances she can legally defend herself.

Overall, I’d suggest the burglar alarm route first, but would have no problem with the firearm as long as she had proper training.

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Out of State Residents with Arizona CCW Permits

January 12, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Out-of-State Carry, Reciprocity Comments Off

Question:  I am a Snowbird with an IL driver license and Arizona ID.  If I carry my Arizona ID with my Arizona CCW am I permitted to carry in states that recognize the Arizona CCW Permit?

Answer: As long as the state recognizes a ‘non-resident’ permit, then you can carry a firearm using your Arizona CCW permit when visiting those states.  However, some states do not recognize ‘non-resident’ permits.  Those states include:  Colorado, Florida, Kansas, New Hampshire, South Carolina and West Virginia.

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Job Suspension Because of Lawful Concealed Carry

January 3, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Restaurant Carry Comments Off

Question: I was suspended from my job for carrying a concealed weapon even though I possess a CCW permit.  I work in a restaurant/bar and it is not posted anywhere on the premises that firearms are not permitted.  Am I in the wrong?

Answer: Unfortunately, you probably did carry both in violation of the company’s policy and as a result were also in violation of the law.  Arizona provides any private property owner (including businesses) the right to prohibit the carrying of any firearm on their private property.  While most places post a sign, the law does not require it.  In addition, if there is no posted sign, a proper representative of the company or property owner can simply tell you that they don’t permit firearms and you are required to remove your firearm and not return with it.

Many companies also have a ‘no firearms’ policy at the workplace which is completely lawful.  Those companies that do have a ‘no firearms’ policy are generally not very hospitable towards employees that violate their policies, hence your suspension.  As an additional note, if you carry in an establishment that does not permit concealed carry, you are actually committing a class 3 misdemeanor which can be punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500.

While I don’t agree with companies that use these policies to deprive their employees of their constitutional rights and create ‘gun-free crime zones’ for criminals, they are within their legal rights to do so and also within their rights to suspend you for violating their corporate policy.

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Using Mace or Pepper Spray on Trespassers…

January 3, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Use of Force Issues Comments Off

Question: There have been burglaries in the area. We have mace.  If we are approached in our yard, can we use the mace for protection if we feel threatened?

Answer: Generally speaking, you could only use mace or pepper spray in response to an imminent physical threat.  You would need to be justified in using physical force to defend yourself.  This would mean that:

  • There was a credible threat of physical force that might result in injury to you or a third party
  • You were not the aggressor
  • That a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect themselves against the use or attempted use of unlawful force.

Just someone being in your yard is not sufficient justification.  That is only trespass.  One or more of the factors above would have to exist before you could use pepper spray or mace.

Should you have to use mace or pepper spray against someone, you should not approach them as some people are capable of fighting through the effects of the spray.  After deploying the spray, I would immediately get to a safe place.  I would also suggest that you call 911 and ask that law enforcement be sent to your home immediately.  Explain to the operator that you were under threat of physical injury and used pepper spray or mace.  They may also wish to send emergency medical personnel.  If possible give a detailed description of your attacker as they may recover sufficiently to escape before the police arrive on scene.

Finally, if you do decide to deploy pepper spray or mace, understand that there is the possibility of being exposed to the spray yourself.  Most defensive sprays are oil-based and will not wash off with water alone.  In most cases you will need soap and water.  Even after washing, the effects of the spray may linger 15-20 minutes.

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Retired Federal Law Enforcement…Do I need an AZ CCW Permit to Carry Concealed?

Question: I am a retired Supervisory (GS-14)Border Patrol Agent (21+years and in good standing). I carry my retired credentials from the Department of Homeland Security. I have a Border Patrol firearms instructor certification until 2012. I have also just obtained a license as an armed security guard for AZ. Can I carry concealed or do I need the 8 hour course?

Answer: There is bad news and good news.  The bad news is that even with your retired federal officer credentials, you must had an Arizona CCW Permit to carry concealed in Arizona.  The good new is that since you were a Border Patrol Agent for more than 10 years and retired in good standing, you can apply for a CCW permit without having to take the 8 hour training course.  You can submit a letter from your former agency stating that you were retired in good standing after 21 years and that will exempt you from the training requirement.  You must also submit an application for an Arizona CCW and a completed fingerprint card and a $60 processing fee along with your letter.

You could also apply for LEOSA status as well.  LEOSA refers to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act that exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from many local and State provisions regarding concealed carry.  Please understand that it does not exempt you from ALL concealed carry laws, but only some.

Under Arizona Law, you can locate a LEOSA qualified instructor and demonstrate proficiency with the firearm you intend to carry in a judgmental shooting evaluation.  The instructor will provide you with an application which must be submitted to the AZ DPS Concealed Weapons Permit Unit with the following documentation:

  • The LEOSA application
  • A letter from your agency stating your credentials (active or retired)
  • A photocopy of your retired credentials issued by your former agency
  • The appropriate application fee (currently $20) in certified funds payable to the AZ DPS.

The LEOSA credentials are good for one year and must be renewed annually.  If allowed to expire the entire process must be repeated for re-certification.

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Carrying Concealed in Colorado Using an Arizona CCW Permit…

January 3, 2010 AZ CCW Laws, Reciprocity, State Firearms Laws Comments Off

Question: I have a concealed weapons permit in AZ.  I work for the Sheriff’s office in AZ as a detention officer.  Can I carry in Durango, CO while on vacation?

Answer: You can legally carry in Colorado on your Arizona permit.  You will need to carry in compliance with Colorado law.  I’d suggest that you visit the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website for more information on Concealed Carry in Colorado.

Their web address is:  http://cbi.state.co.us/ccw/relatedstats.asp

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CCW Name Change and Moving to Colorado

December 29, 2009 AZ CCW Laws, CCW Administrative Rules, Out-of-State Carry Comments Off

Question: I recently got married but I also moved a couple weeks ago to Colorado. Where do I start? What forms do I fill out? Do I have to take a class again in Colorado and do it all over? If you can let me know I would appreciate it, I want to be valid. Thanks!

Answer: Congrats on your wedding!  Sorry we lost you to Colorado.  You will need to file both a change of address and a change of name with AZ DPS.  The forms that you need to fill out are available on the Arizona DPS website at:  http://www.azdps.gov/services/concealed_weapons/

If you look on the left side of the page you will see a link to “Forms”.  Click there and look for the “Name Change” form.  You can use the same on for both the name and address change.  Once you get to Colorado and get a CO driver license, you’ll need to take a CCW course there to get a Colorado permit.  If you are in the Denver area, check out the folks at Profire USA.  Their website is:  http://www.profire.us/

They are a great bunch of folks and you will get top quality training with them.  Your Arizona permit will work as long as you have an Arizona license since you won’t be considered to be an ‘official’ resident of Colorado until you get your license and registration there.

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Misdemeanor Theft and an Arizona CCW

December 29, 2009 AZ CCW Laws, State Firearms Laws Comments Off


I currently have a misdemeanor for theft, and I am aware that this prohibits me from renewing my AZ DPS Guard Card, does it also prohibit me from getting my CCW?
If it does, will it still do so if I get it set-aside? Also, a bit off-track, but do you know if my Guard Card certification will pass if I get the issue set-aside?

Answer: Having a misdemeanor conviction for theft will not prevent you from getting a CCW permit in Arizona.  Once you have satisfied your sentence and completed any court ordered probation, you can request that the conviction be “set aside”.  Even if the conviction is set aside, you will have to wait five years before you will be eligible to apply for a AZ DPS Guard Card.  Under DPS rules for licensing of Security Guards, you cannot be issued a Guard card if you have any misdemeanor conviction for theft within the last five years.  The clock starts ticking on the date of conviction and sentencing, not on the date the crime was committed.

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