Arizona concealed carry simplifies gun ownership
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer dragged ink across Arizona Senate Bill 1108 on a spring day in 2010, signing it into law and enacting permitless Arizona concealed carry in July 2010.
It was the third state to promise constitutional carry, and remains one of the least restrictive states in the union.
Despite the firearms freedom many patriots are afforded, there are still rules, regulations, risks and rewards to consider with a concealed carry permit.
An Arizona concealed carry permit is still useful — here’s why:
Sure, the practice is uninhibited — provided the lawful gun owner isn’t prohibited from deadly weapons — but an Arizona concealed carry permit is a useful tool when leaving the state.
Nearly three quarters of the U.S. recognizes an Arizona concealed carry permit, although that number may shift with developing legislation. Stay up to date with a CCW map and know that this article isn’t formal legal advice.
Arizona’s CCW program began in September 1994, and as of September 11, 2016, there were 284,064 active Arizona concealed carry permits, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
One county, Maricopa, accounts for 101,053 permits. The next largest county is Pima at 26,666.
The highest demographic of Arizona concealed carry permit owners — white males 60-69 years old — is recorded at 54,195.
The lowest number demographic? White females ages 19-20. There was one single recorded concealed carry permit owner in this category. For reference, there are 26 male permit owners recorded in that specific age bracket and demographic.
Outside of white males and females, which overwhelmingly own more permits than any other demographic in that state, the next highest populated demographic — black males 40-49 years old — has 1,666 permits recorded.
OK, enough numbers. Here’s how to obtain an Arizona concealed carry permit.
Requirements, according to ARS §13-3112:
- Arizona residency or proof of U.S. citizenship (meaning non-residents may apply)
- Age: 21 years old or at least 19 years old enlisted in active service or with proof of honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions from the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve or State National Guard
- Do not be under indictment for a felony offense and have no convictions of a felony, unless the charges have been expunged, vacated or pardoned or the right to firearms has been restored
- The applicant must not be mentally ill, must not have been adjudicated mentally incompetent and must not have been committed to a mental institution
- Do not be unlawfully present in the U.S.
- Complete a firearms training program.
According to ARS §13-3112.N, permit applicants must show firearms competency through any of the following:
- Completing a firearms training or safety course available to the general public by a law enforcement agency, a junior college, a college or public/private institution, academy, organization or firearms training school and the program must be approved by the Arizona Department of Public Safety or use an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association
- Complete a hunter education/safety course approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Department or a similar agency at another state
- Completion of any NRA firearms safety or training course — except online courses, according to an NRA memorandum
- Completing any law enforcement agency training course or class
- Evidence of U.S. military service, honorable discharge from U.S. military service or general discharge under honorable conditions from U.S. military service
- A current or expired CCW permit administered by another state that requires training for the initial application
- Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualification to carry a firearm during police duty
- Completing any other firearms safety/training course conducted by a department of public safety approved or NRA certified firearms instructor
The process of applying:
- Be qualified, according to ARS §13-3112.
- Don’t be unqualified, according to restrictions outlined in ARS §13-3101(7) (more on that later).
- Review all the relevant information in Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13 chapters 4 and 31, which can be found here.
- Contact the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit by email here, request an application packet and include a mailing address for the application packet they send each potential applicant.
- The packet will contain an application, two fingerprint identification cards and a return envelope.
- In the return envelope, insert the completed application, applicant fingerprint cards, documentation of firearms safety compliance and the non-refundable application fee in the form of a money order, cashier’s check or certified check payable to the AZ DPS or to the CWPU.
- If born outside the U.S., applicants are required to include proof of citizenship or alien status, which can be shown with a certificate of naturalization, resident alien card, record of birth abroad to U.S. citizens, record of birth abroad to armed forces personnel or U.S Passport.
- The application will be returned to the applicant if there are any errors. So don’t mess up.
- Wait up to 75 days for processing.
- If after 75 days, the application is not approved or denied, contact the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit.
- Once the permit has been delivered, inspect it for errors. If it has errors, send it back with this form.
Before a CCW permit is approved, Arizona Department of Public Safety criminal records specialists comb the applicant’s background through seven outlets: the Arizona Criminal Justice Information System (ACJIS), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Arizona Crime information Center (ACIC), the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), the Interstate Identification Index (III), the Automatic Fingerprint Information System (AFIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
A new permit fee is $60, a renewal $43, a replacement $10.
Provided the permit holder is in good standing, they may renew their permit within 90 days prior to its expiration and 60 days afterward. They do not need to complete another training course.
The CWPU will mail the renewal packet or the renewal application can be found here. Mail the application to the CWPU headquarters.
An expired CCW permit after 60 days will require a new application process and fee with the expired permit included as documentation of firearms training.
The Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA), which exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from some state and local laws, is recognized by Arizona with a few caveats.
Permits and licensing can be a hassle, but follow the appropriate steps and they’re a breeze — unless the applicant is prohibited by law from applying.
Barriers to entry for Arizona CCW: location and laws
State and federal administrations place a few caveats on when Arizona CCW is acceptable and when it’s prohibited.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, do not concealed carry at...
- A location that serves alcohol for consumption on location — but there are exceptions for the concealed carrier with a permit or if they’re a peace officer. Check out A.R.S. 4-229, A.R.S. 4-244, A.R.S. 13-3102 for more information.
- Polling locations, with certain exceptions for peace officers
- School grounds, with some exceptions (if the concealed carrier is an adult in a vehicle and the firearm is unloaded and if the adult leaves the vehicle the weapon must be secured, out of view and unloaded. Additionally, an unloaded firearm may be brought onto school grounds with school administration approval for a designated activity and they may impose additional restrictions on school property) and peace officers are excepted
- Commercial nuclear and hydroelectric generating stations, but peace officers are OK.
- Military installations, with some limitations on peace officers
- Reservations (although the individual tribe should be contacted and peace officers have limited approval) — limitations on peace officers
- Game preserves — again, limitations on peace officers
- National parks — although recent federal legislation allows visitors to possess firearms in parks, federal law requires adhering to state and local gun laws, so contact park services in Arizona on the matter just to be safe.
- Correctional facilities
- Federal buildings — limitations on peace officers
- Airports, in or beyond security checkpoints
- State or local government private establishments if requested not to. There will generally be a place to store the firearm. Refusal to remove the CCW may lead to arrest. Peace officers are not prohibited.
A law enforcement officer may take possession of a concealed carry weapon for a limited time during a lawful traffic stop or contact with the public.
“But how can they take possession of it when it’s concealed? That’s the whole point.”
That’s situationally dependent, weapon printing occurs and being a law-abiding gun owner means adhering to the lawful requests of the brave men and women who serve the state and nation.
Location is one prohibition placed on firearms, but two other areas of the law need to be addressed. They both designate who is and isn’t deemed a safe and acceptable gun owner.
Arizona law: ARS 13-3101(7) - Prohibited possessor
- Those who are a danger to themselves and others
- Those convicted of a felony in or outside Arizona and those adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to own a firearm has been restored
- Those serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility
- Those serving a term of probation for domestic violence or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest or parole or probation to the interstate compact under title 31, chapter 3, article 4.1
- Those found incompetent pursuant rule 11
- Those found guilty except insane
- Undocumented aliens or nonimmigrant aliens traveling with or without documentation or who is studying in this state, but there are exceptions.
Those exceptions are: if they have a hunting license or permit lawfully issued somewhere in the U.S., if they’re nonimmigrant aliens who enter the U.S. for competitive target shooting, if they’re nonimmigrant aliens lawfully displaying firearms at a sports or hunting trade show, if they’re a certain diplomat, if they’re foreign government officials or distinguished foreign visitors and if they have a waiver from the U.S. attorney general.
Also consider the federal prohibitions on who may own a firearm as outlined in the United States Code, Title 18, Section 922(g).
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.