Arizona Legalizes Concealed Carry without a Permit

May 2, 2010

Governor Brewer signs legislation into law

By David Morse
Guest Columnist
Published on Sunday, May 2, 2010 9:16 AM MST

Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1108, a bill that decriminalizes the carrying of concealed weapons in the state of Arizona, on April 16. This bill will become law 90 days after the Legislature closes.

Arizona will become the third state, following Vermont and Alaska, allowing concealed carry without a permit. Arizona will be the first state with a large urban population to enact such legislation.

What does this mean? In short, any person 21 years of age or older legally qualified to own a firearm may carry a firearm in concealment, where not restricted, without fear of arrest or prosecution. The current system for issue of concealed weapons permits will remain in place. Persons wishing to join the more than 154,000 Arizonans who already have concealed weapons permits will have that option.

Is this a good thing? In a free society can there be too much freedom? I predict many people will drop pistols in their pockets and tuck revolvers into their waistbands “because they can.” After a month or so, when the novelty is gone and the added weight and bother of carrying a chunk of iron sets in, many of those guns will go back into drawers and safes.

Allow me to offer one bit of advice. Guns are deadly weapons. Carrying a deadly weapon incurs many risks and imposes many responsibilities. This is not something to be done lightly without thought or consideration. Carry responsibly!

Many restrictions will still exist. One cannot carry weapons on private property (or any property for that matter) posted “No Guns Allowed,” on national monuments, Indian reservations, school grounds, military reservations and other places.

Be aware that the law requires any person carrying a concealed weapon to inform a police officer about the weapon if asked. Also, the weapon must be surrendered to a police officer, for temporary holding, upon request.

And just because no law forbids carrying a concealed weapon, that does not mean there are no laws against improper use or display of firearms. I foresee a rash of “misconduct with firearms” or “endangerment with firearms” arrests (both class-6 felonies) in certain parts of the state not known as gun-friendly.

Obtaining an Arizona concealed weapons permit is still a good idea. Reciprocity is a big factor. At this time, 29 states will honor your Arizona CCW — similar to their recognition of your Arizona driver’s license. Without a permit, your “right to carry” ends at the Arizona state line.

Last year, Arizona allowed permit holders to carry their concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that served alcohol, provided the establishment had not posted a notice they would not allow carry on their premises and the person consumed no alcohol. Those without a permit can be issued citations and their firearms confiscated if they carry weapons into an establishment serving alcohol, whether the premises are posted or not.

People with a valid Arizona CCW may purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer without being subjected to a federal background check at the time of purchase. The FFL dealer notes the CCW number on the 4473 form in lieu of making a National Instant Check System call, and the buyer takes the gun home with him.

About one out of five calls to NICS results in a “delay” status for the purchase. The buyer cannot take the gun with him at that time. A delay means NICS needs time to check something found in its initial computer-based background check. Maybe there are several “John Smiths” with criminal backgrounds, or the buyer has an arrest from 15 years back and the fact no charges were filed is not noted; maybe a restraining order in another state was issued to a “John Smith.”

There can be dozens of reasons. Many have obtained CCWs simply because their names are common, and they get tired of delays every time they try to purchase a firearm. Also, there are no federal computer-based records of the purchase.

And last but not least: training. There is no such thing as too much training. The eight hours spent in the AZ CCW course is but a touch on the myriad and complex tactical, legal and moral issues inherent to carrying a deadly weapon.

Having the permit carries one more advantage: respect. Members of law enforcement recognize that those who have obtained a permit to carry are honest citizens who have made an effort to educate themselves about firearms and related laws.

When an officer or deputy runs your name in a routine traffic stop, the fact that you have been issued a CCW permit is displayed on the patrol car’s computer screen. Most cops will be much more cordial and relaxed with a person they know has a CCW because they know he is not a felon and is possibly honest by nature. How many criminals spend time going to classes and getting permits?

The cost of an AZ CCW permit (valid for five years) is $60. The reciprocity, avoidance of NICS delays, training and respect that come with a CCW permit are priceless.


Arizona to allow concealed weapons without permit

April 17, 2010

by Alia Beard Rau – Apr. 16, 2010 03:46 PM
The Arizona Republic

Starting later this summer, U.S. citizens 21 and older can begin carrying a concealed firearm without a permit in Arizona.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1108 into law Friday afternoon. It eliminates the requirement for a concealed-carry weapons permit, but does require gun owners to accurately answer if an officer asks them if they are carrying weapon concealed. It also allows officers to temporarily confiscate a weapon while they are talking to an individual, including during a traffic stop.

“I believe strongly in the individual rights and responsibilities of a free society, and as governor I have pledged a solemn and important oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” Brewer said in a news release. “I believe this legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well.”

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for this session, which could happen in the next couple of weeks.

Arizona joins Vermont and Alaska in not requiring such permits.

“If you want to carry concealed, and you have no criminal history, you are a good guy, you can do it,” bill sponsor Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, has said of his bill. “It’s a freedom that poses no threat to the public.”

National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said the new state law would not violate any current federal requirements.

“There is no federal requirement for a permit or lack thereof,” Dogali said.

The federal government oversees the background-check program required to purchase a weapon, which will still be required in Arizona in most cases.

Brewer last week did sign a separate law that exempts guns made and kept in Arizona from federal regulation, including background checks.

Arizona had 154,279 active permits as of April 4. Permit holders are spread across all ages, races and counties, but White males older than 30 in Maricopa and Pima counties hold the majority, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety data.

The permits generated $1.8 million in revenue last fiscal year, according to DPS. The money is used to help cover costs for enforcing laws related to the Highway Patrol, operating the concealed-carry weapon-licensing program and impounding vehicles.

Arizona’s permit process will remain in place, and many gun owners may still choose to get a permit. Permits would still be needed in order to carry a weapon into a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol. They would also be needed if an Arizonan wants to carry his or her gun concealed in most other states.

For those who do choose to get a permit, the education requirements do change under the new law. Classes are no longer required to be a set number of hours or include any hands-on use of the weapon. Those who don’t get a permit would not be required to get any training or education.

Retired Mesa police officer Dan Furbee runs a business teaching permit and other gun safety classes. He said if most people choose not to get a permit, it will put several hundred Arizona firearms instructors out of business.

“It’s going to hurt,” he said.

But he said what really concerns him is that the new law will allow people who have had no education about Arizona’s laws and no training on the shooting range to carry a concealed gun. The eight-hour class currently required to get a permit includes information on state law and gun safety, as well as requires students to be able to hit a target 14 out of 20 times. Furbee said his class at Mesa-based Ultimate Accessories costs $79, plus $60 for the five-year permit.

“I fully agree that we have a right to keep and bear arms,” Furbee said. “But if you are not responsible enough to take a class and learn the laws, you are worse than part of the problem.”

He said it’s not uncommon for students to walk into his classroom and pull a new gun out of a box with no idea how to hold it and no understanding of the laws surrounding it.

“If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you should have some kind of training and show that you are at least competent to know how the gun works and be able to hit a target,” he said. “You owe the people around you a measure of responsibility.”

This new law is the latest of several that have passed over the past year since Brewer took over the office from former Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat.

Napolitano vetoed at least a dozen weapons bills that crossed her desk during her seven years in office, all of which would have loosened gun restrictions. In 2005, Napolitano rejected a bill that would have allowed patrons to carry loaded guns into bars and restaurants. In 2008, she also vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to have a hidden gun in vehicles without a concealed-carry permit.

In January 2009, Napolitano resigned to become U.S. Homeland Security secretary and Republican Secretary of State Brewer became governor.

During her first year in office, Brewer signed a bill allowing loaded guns in bars and restaurants, as well as another that prohibits property owners from banning guns from parking areas, so long as the weapons are kept locked in vehicles.

Eight new gun bills signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

July 31, 2009

Alan Korwin Friday, 17 July 2009

All anti-rights bills defeated, some pro-rights bills died

Waiting until the last possible moment, Arizona governor Jan Brewer on July 13 signed all eight gun-related bills enacted by the state legislature in 2009. Two crucial bills, Constitutional Carry and penalty reduction for discreet carry without a permit, failed passage at the last minute and didn’t make it to her desk. The eight bills signed into law, which will become effective on Sep. 30, 2009 (except SB 1242, effective immediately), are:

  • HB 2569   Smuggling people for profit, involving a deadly weapon
  • SB 1113   CCW in liquor-licensed places OK without drinking, unless no-gun signs
  • SB 1088   Domestic violence protection extended to romantic or sexual partners
  • SB 1168   Parking lots cannot ban firearms locked in vehicles, with exceptions
  • SB 1242   Exemptions from CCW and more for more “proper authorities”
  • SB 1243   Defensive display of a firearm in self defense defined and protected
  • SB 1437   AZ High School Marksmanship Program instructor definition expanded
  • SB 1449   Retroactive self-defense clarification (Harold Fish law)

At least 14 gun-related bills were introduced this year, with the few anti-rights bills repudiated early in the session and defeated. One other pro-rights bill died at the end, the effort to reduce required classes to three or four hours for people already well trained in gun use through military, police or private programs. Some 20 legislators walked out very late on the final session (which went all night and ended at 7:30 a.m.) stealing away votes that had been verbally committed and were needed for passage of that and the petty offense amendment for discreet carry without a permit. The pro-rights people were left with 30 votes, and needed 31 to pass the laws.

The entire session was run in a bizarre manner — no legislative work for months in the Senate while the Napolitano deficit was being resolved, then an impossibly crowded and rushed legislative calendar in the final few weeks, with no room for error, adjustment or contemplation. The procedures were a disgraceful humiliating embarrassment to good governance.

Constitutional Carry, which would have allowed law-abiding Arizonans to carry a firearm discreetly — with the same freedom they’ve had since statehood in 1912 to carry openly — got tied up in the Rules committee in the closing days of the session. A late amendment to the bill, which created a conflict with federal law, forced Rules to hold the bill and there wasn’t enough time left in the session to make the needed changes.

The amendment was added by Judiciary chairman Jonathan Paton (R-Tucson), normally a good supporter of RKBA, who insisted he wouldn’t hear the bill without the new language. The amendment criminalized smuggling guns across the Mexican border, which DPS wants even though it’s a federal matter. That carrot might have helped move the cart on Constitutional Carry, which DPS is basically against, but in the end scuttled the bill.

Following standard practice, this year’s changes will be produced as an insert and included with copies of The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide, posted on our website, and available as a formatted pdf file or plain text for downloading. This is a preliminary analysis for review and comment.

Summarizing this year’s changes:

KEY: AGOG Page# / Bill# / Statutes Affected / Description

43, 71, 79, 80 / SB 1113 / §§ 4-229, 4-244, 4-246, 11-441, 13-3102, 13-3112, 38-1102 / Carry in restaurants for CCW permitees only

CCW-permit holders can carry in places licensed to serve alcohol, unless the places post official signs from the Dept. of Liquor Licenses banning entry to anyone with a firearm. The ban was written broadly enough to prohibit anyone from carrying, even on-duty police or employees, if signs are posted.

If access is not banned and you possess a firearm, you may not drink. If you enter you have an affirmative defense against prosecution (meaning you must prove your innocence) if you were not informed of the ban, the sign fell down, the sign was posted less than 30 days before you were charged, or you weren’t a resident of the state. The exemption for going in to seek aid in an emergency has been preserved, and you have permission to go in far enough to see if there’s a sign posted.

You can expect to see No Guns Allowed signs springing up all over the state, featuring official wording and an image of a gun inside a red circle with a slash through it. Drinking while carrying in a liquor-serving establishment, or carrying in such a place if it’s posted for no guns, is a class 3 misdemeanor.

The guns-in-restaurants bill also says: Members of a sheriff’s volunteer posse who have received specified training (AZPOST) can bear arms while on duty, with conditions. A U.S. law enforcement officer with 10 consecutive years of service and a special picture ID can carry concealed without a permit, and their most recent law-enforcement employer must issue the card on request. AZPOST-certified LEOs who volunteer for their agency’s reserve program are exempt from taking the CCW training program. Misconduct with weapons in an act of terrorism is raised to a class 2 felony. Note that terrorism is broadly defined (§13-2301) and this law could be applied beyond the common understanding of terrorism (e.g., a felony with a firearm intended to influence policy or affect the conduct of the state). Another extra guarantee against localities banning LEOs from carrying firearms has been added.

24 / SB 1088 / §13-3601 / Domestic violence expansion

Penalties for domestic-violence offenses, including restraining orders and firearms confiscations, can now be applied, in addition to problems between family members, to people who are or were in “a romantic or sexual relationship.” The law is a response to the case of a woman murdered by her boyfriend. A restraining order was unavailable because they weren’t married. It’s unclear, as always, how much a piece of paper from a court would have influenced a murderer. Now, people in a casual relationship have an enormously powerful weapon they can use on each other in the event of a quarrel — confiscation of any collection of arms and a ban on possession. Questions linger as to how much of a relationship qualifies, which the statute left ambiguous.

55, 70 / SB 1168 / §12-781 / Ban on prohibiting guns in parked vehicles

It’s unlawful for a property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity (called the “responsible party” below for brevity) to create a policy or rule that prevents a person from lawfully transporting or storing any firearm in a privately owned motor vehicle if:

1 – the vehicle is locked or the firearm is in a locked compartment on a motorcycle;

2 – the firearm is not visible. Any attempt to do so is null, void, unenforceable and without legal effect.

The ban on gun bans in private vehicles doesn’t apply under four conditions:

1 – possession of the firearm is already banned under federal or state law;

2 – the vehicle is owned or leased by the responsible party
in which case the ban is at their discretion;

3 – the responsible party has a facility secured by a fence or other physical barrier, and also limits access by a guard or other security measure, and the responsible party
provides secure storage with ready access and retrieval, similar to the gun-locker rules for public buildings and events;

4 – compliance with this statute would violate another applicable federal or state law. Nuclear generating stations must comply with gun-locker requirements.

The parking area for a single-family detached residence is exempt from this law. Department of Defense contractors whose property is located wholly or partially on a military base are exempt from this law. A responsible party can provide an alternate parking facility close to the main facility, ban firearms at the main one, and allow them at the alternate facility, as long as they don’t charge any extra fee.

Anticipating possible legal challenges from large corporations or other property owners whose parking space is open to the public, the legislature included a six-point set of findings, rare in state bills, to clarify that:

1 – the state and federal Constitutions provide strong protection for the
fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self defense;

2 – the enjoyment of this right is impaired if people are deprived the right to keep arms in
their vehicles;

3 – people are deprived of their rights if firearms cannot be kept in their private vehicles;

4 – your locked private vehicle is private, not a public space, you have the right to furnish it any way you like that is legal to enhance your comfort, security, ease of movement and
enjoyment of liberty;

5 – parking lot operators are not unduly burdened by the presence of legally possessed property secured within the vehicle by its owner;

6 – this act is for the benefit and protection of people who choose to exercise and enforce their fundamental right to bear arms in self defense in their movements throughout this state, including in their personal motor vehicles.

114 / SB 1243 / §13-421 / Defensive display of firearms protection

“Defensive display of a firearm” means:

1 – Verbally telling someone that you have a firearm or can get one;

2 – Exposing or displaying a gun in a way that a reasonable person would understand means you can protect yourself against illegal physical or deadly physical force;

3 – Placing your hand on a firearm while it is in your pocket, purse or other means of
containment or transport.

Defensive display is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe physical force is immediately necessary to protect yourself against another person’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical or deadly physical force. A defensive display is not required before using or threatening physical force, in a situation where you would be justified in using or threatening physical force.

Defensive display is not justified if you intentionally provoke the other person, or if you use a firearm in the commission of a serious offense or violent crime (defined in §13-706 and §13-901.3).

This important new law clarifies that a proper defensive reach for or announcement of firearm possession is an acceptable element in the continuum of self defense, and should not be charged as a crime. Improper display of a firearm can be anything from a class 1 misdemeanor (e.g., disorderly conduct) to a class 3 felony (e.g., aggravated assault). It also helps balance out the problematic and arbitrary “threatening exhibition” of a gun allegation that prosecutors can make in charging a felony as a “dangerous offense” (§13-702 and 704). The threat of this extra charge can be used to coerce a plea agreement, and now this is balanced with a specified stipulation of proper display of a gun without firing at a potential assailant.

44 / SB 1437 / §15-714.01 / High school marksmanship training expansion

Instructors for the Arizona Gun Safety Program, a marksmanship course for high school students, can be certified by a national association of firearms owners, in addition to the Arizona Game and Fish Dept.

SB 1449 / Retroactive self defense (Harold Fish law)

In certain cases, “Laws 2006, chapter 199 applies retroactively… regardless of when the conduct underlying the charges occurred.”

The state enacted amendments in 2006 to make it clear that, if a person claims self defense, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted without justification (the appropriate “innocent until proven guilty” standard). One of the laws amended, which had been quietly slipped in by prosecutors without review ten years earlier, forced a defendant to prove innocence, the exact opposite of what American laws
should be (it made you guilty unless you could prove your innocence, a tyrannical standard). Part of these changes became known as the Castle Doctrine — you can stand your ground if attacked, intruders in your home are a legally recognized threat, and self defense was to receive robust protection under the law.

The new rules were supposed to protect people in a predicament like Harold Fish, a school teacher with a clean record out hiking in May 2004. He was attacked by a homeless known troublemaker with violent dogs on a forest trail outside Payson. Mr. Fish, who survived by shooting his assailant three times in the chest at close range, was at first released in what appeared an obvious self defense, but was then attacked by the county attorney, in a trial that reeked of unfairness.

The legislature is here making it clear that people are entitled to the full protection of the law, and the public’s safety will likely be enhanced with this small measure that serves notice on the powers that be. Other problems, like failure to fully inform juries, bad jury instructions, exclusion of exculpatory or illuminating evidence, exorbitant cost and inordinate timeframes, and other potholes in the criminal justice system remain to be fixed.

HB 2569 (§13-2319) and SB 1242 (§13-3102)

Two additional gun laws will affect the statutes in the back of The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide, but have little direct impact on the general public or the text of the book. §13-2319 is amended to make smuggling people for profit or a commercial purpose a class 2 felony if the offense “involved the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.” In §13-3102, we find that more “proper authorities” have been exempted from gun laws that restrict the public, like carrying without a permit, concealed carry
in a car without a permit, making, having, transporting or selling prohibited weapons, having a defaced deadly weapon, entering a public establishment or public event with a deadly weapon after being told not to, and more. The new crop of exempt special people includes community correctional officers, detention officers, and special investigators with
DOC or the Dept. of Juvenile Corrections. Other sections of the bill repeat language found in SB 1113, a common practice to help assure passage (if one bill fails, the language gets through in the other bill).

It’s interesting to note that, at the federal level, a growth process like this took place for decades, with a new batch of people added 32 times, until the statute grew so embarrassingly long (one sentence of 741 words) Congress shortened the law by 610 words, cutting out all the named groups, but expanded the impact by simply making it applicable to “any officer or employee of the United States. That statute, 18 USC §1114, makes it a greater crime to kill them than to kill you or me. How that comports with
equal protection under the law is unclear.

Author: Alan Korwin.

Alan KorwinAlan Korwin is a founder and two-term past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association, which has presented him with its Visionary Leadership award, named in his honor, the Korwin Award. He is active with the speaker’s bureau for the non-profit, Wash., D.C.-based news-media watchdog, Accuracy In Media.

Alan’s first book, The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide , is now in its 23rd edition with more than 100,000 copies in print. He went on to write or co-write seven more books on gun laws, including state guides for California , Florida , Texas and Virginia , the unabridged federal guide Gun Laws of America , and his 11th, which debuted at the 2008 Gun Rights Policy Conference, The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed!

Alan’s blog,, is carried by dozens of paper and online outlets.