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Concealed Carry in a Vehicle with Children…

August 9, 2009 AZ CCW Laws, Firearms Safety, Kids and Guns, Vehicle Carry No Comments

Question: If I am in my vehicle, and I have CCW permit but my passenger does not, I understand that it is unlawful to have a concealed firearm that is “immediately accessible” to either of
us.  The answer to the following question seems obvious but thought I’d ask: I assume that this applies to minor passengers also.  In other words, if I have minor aged children that are old enough to ride in the front seat, I cannot have a concealed weapon in the area if they ride up there.  In other words my choices are to: (1) have my children [until they are old enough to get their own CCW] always ride in the back seat or (2) never  have a concealed weapon in the front seat area when they sitting up there with me.

Answer: There are a couple of issues that we need to consider in your question.

First, there is the issue of legality of concealed carry in a vehicle occupied by someone who does not have a Arizona CCW permit.  You are correct when you state that an adult in the front seat of the vehicle that does not have a permit is breaking the law if there is a concealed firearm in the vehicle that is ‘immediately accessible’ for their use.  This would also apply to any minor children.  With a minor child, another aspect of the law kicks in as it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firearm except under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian or unless they have explicit written permission of their parent or guardian.

Second, and more importantly, there is the issue of firearms safety and making sure that your firearm is inaccessible to anyone that is not authorized to have a firearm or does not understand how to safely handle a firearm.

There is no way that I would have a firearm in my vehicle and have children in that vehicle unless my firearm was either under my direct personal control (on my body) or secured in a locking box or case!

The issue is basically this:  if your firearm is not secured and there are children in the vehicle, you are taking a substantial risk with the safety of your children or others.  Kids will be kids.  No matter how much you impress upon them the danger of handling any firearm, there will always be the temptation to handle, examine or play with the gun.  As soon as that happens, they are at risk.  While I realize that you are probably a very responsible individual and a loving parent, there is always the risk, however slight, that you might exit the car for just a moment and leave the firearm unattended while the kids are in the car.  As soon as that happens, there is the possibility of a tragedy.  The only way to eliminate that possibility keep it on your person, under your direct personal control or lock it up.

Please don’t mistake my emphasis on safety as any sort of reprimand.  I just want to make sure that my message is clear, not only for you but for anyone else reading this article.

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