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Do I need an AZ CCW to carry my AR-15 (unloaded) in public.

Recently, I had a reader email me with the following excellent question: “Hi, I was wondering if I need a CCW to carry an unloaded AR-15 in public, more specifically to a private residence (with a small gathering). It is legally registered to me. Would there be any issues if there were alcohol in the house at the time? Strange question, but I am curious.”

There are several parts to this question, so let’s answer each in turn.

First, do you need an AZ CCW to carry an unloaded AR-15 in public? No, actually you don’t need to have an AZ CCW if you carry the rifle in plain view so that the casual observer can see you are armed. Similarly, in your vehicle, as long as it is in plain view, you are fine. Personally, I would suggest transporting it in the trunk of your vehicle in a case, but that is not legally required.

Second, can you carry to a private residence where there is a small gathering? Well, honestly the answer to this is up to your host. A private property owner can legally prohibit any private citizen from bringing firearms into their residence or place of business. They need only tell you that your firearm must be removed and you are legally compelled to comply. If you don’t they could potentially have you arrested for criminal trespass. If they are cool with the whole gun thing, you are completely good to go.

Third, you mentioned a small gathering and the presence of alcohol. The only thing more volatile than “guns and alcohol” is “testosterone and alcohol”. If there is going to be alcohol at the party, I’d suggest that at a minimum, you leave your ammo at home. I’d also suggest that once the firearms examination is over and the party really gets started that you lock your AR-15 back up in the trunk. There are a couple of reasons for this…one is the potential criminal and civil liability that you might face if someone negligently uses your firearm and there is injury, property damage or death as a result. I know you are probably saying…”but I didn’t bring any ammo”. You’d be surprised at who might have .223 ammo in the house and might be tempted to ‘load up’. Also, I had a former student visit a party after a trip to the range. He brought his range bag in with him since because of the neighborhood, he didn’t want to leave it in the car. It wasn’t a big party but there were some people there he didn’t know (friend’s of friends). When he got ready to leave, the range bag and it’s contents (2 glocks and 1 Sig, plus ammo) were nowhere to be found. I’m not suggesting that you should be mistrustful of your friends…but I think you get my drift.

I hope this answers your question and gives you some additional food for thought.

Stay Safe!


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