Arizona Gun Rights & Restoration

It’s Important To Understand Your Rights Regarding Your Firearm In The State Of Arizona

For many people in Arizona, the Second Amendment Right to bear arms is a core part of being a United States citizen. You likely own or wish to own a firearm to protect yourself, your home, and your family. However, constitutional rights aren’t absolute, and there are exceptions and limitations to the Second Amendment. Whether or not you have been previously convicted of a felony, you must understand your rights regarding your firearm in the state of Arizona.

Understanding Your Rights In Regards To Your Firearm In The State Of Arizona

Arizona’s Gun Carrying Laws

There are several laws surrounding firearm use and possession in Arizona. Generally, everyone is prohibited from carrying a firearm in schools, parks, correctional institutions, airports, and other areas. However, Arizona doesn’t require gun owners to register their weapons. There are also state laws prohibiting local jurisdictions from enacting registration requirements on firearms. Almost anyone 18 years and older can own a firearm in Arizona.

Can You Carry a Gun In Your Car?

Arizona generally respects all of its residents’ right to carry a firearm. There are special age requirements while driving a motor vehicle. Arizona passed a Constitutional Carry law in 2010 that allows drivers 21 years of age and older to carry a loaded and concealed firearm while traveling in a vehicle. A driver between 18-20 can only carry a concealed weapon in a vehicle if it is in a holster or similar encasement. It can be kept unholstered if it is in a glove or storage compartment, or the trunk of the vehicle. The firearm must be in a secured compartment- underneath the seat unholstered is insufficient for a driver younger than 21 years old.

No matter what the driver’s age, a driver may be required to inform a police officer when driving with a firearm. When pulled over by a police officer, any driver in Arizona must answer truthfully if the officer asks if there are concealed or unconcealed weapons present. The police officer may also elect to take “temporary custody” of the firearm during a search of the driver’s vehicle.

Knife Carrying Laws

Knives are treated similarly to firearms in that they can also be deadly weapons. Most knives are considered tools, but knives with a blade of 4 inches or more are treated as deadly weapons. These must be treated like firearms regarding concealment and area restrictions.

Concealed Carry Permits

Arizona residents aged 21 and over may apply for a concealed carry permit for their firearms. Those convicted of felonies (unless they are expunged, vacated, etc.) or diagnosed with certain mental illnesses will not be approved for the permit. The applicant must also complete a firearms safety training program for approval. A concealed carry permit costs $60 in Arizona, takes approximately 75 days to process, and is valid for 5 years. An Arizona concealed weapons permit has reciprocity in 37 states. More than 300,000 people in Arizona currently have concealed weapons permits.

Firearm Possession After a Felony Conviction

Being convicted of a felony in Arizona will have a serious impact on your life in many ways. Not only will you lose your right to vote and run for public office, but you will also lose the right to own a firearm. Unless you properly restore your rights after a felony conviction, you can be arrested for misconduct involving weapons. In these circumstances, you are what is known as a “prohibited possessor.” This is a class 4 felony charge that will result in serious prison time. Of course, you can also be charged for committing a crime involving a firearm as well. The penalties for these crimes will likely be increased due to your status as a prohibited possessor.

On its own, the misconduct charge carries a sentence of 0-3.75 years. If you are a prohibited possessor due to a felony conviction, you have at least one prior conviction. The standard sentence for misconduct with weapons prohibited possessor with a prior conviction is 2.25-7.5 years. With two prior convictions, the sentence is increased to 6-15 years. You will be subject to thousands in fines and legal costs and will have limited opportunities after your release from prison. For example, you will be rejected from some job and apartment applications almost immediately, and you will have difficulty regaining custody of your children.

Defenses To Prohibited Possessor Weapon Misconduct Charges

A weapons misconduct charge as a prohibited possessor could land you several years in prison, so you’ll want strong defenses to avoid or reduce these penalties.

Some Of The Defenses That May Be Available In Your Case Include:

  • Constitutional Violations

If the officers lacked a constitutional reason to search and find your firearm or found the weapon due to your statements after a failure to read your Miranda Rights, you may have a strong defense against the charges against you.

  • Unaware Of a Weapon

It’s possible to be arrested for possessing a firearm without even being aware that it is in your possession. For example, you have been convicted of a felony, so you don’t own a firearm. You borrow a friend’s vehicle, who has the firearm in the trunk. If the police were to find the weapon unwittingly in your possession, you would need to use this fact to defend your case.

  • The Gun Was Properly Secured

Depending on the details of your arrest, the fact that your firearm was in the trunk or a secure compartment, unloaded, and/or holstered could be a defense in your case.

  • Procedural Errors

Police officers and prosecutors are human, and therefore sometimes make mistakes. If there were issues in the chain of custody of evidence, interrogation of witnesses, etc., your Arizona criminal defense lawyer should identify them and use them as defenses.

Restoring Your Rights To Own a Firearm

It is almost impossible to restore firearms rights after a federal conviction. You may be able to restore your firearms rights, however, after a state conviction. Many offenses will only prohibit you from owning a firearm for 2 years from your release date or completion of probation. Serious offenses, like murder, assault, crimes against children, robbery, and other theft crimes, will prohibit you from owning a firearm for 10 years from your release or probation completion date.

If you have your conviction set aside, your firearms rights will be restored. Otherwise, you will need to file a petition to restore your firearms rights after the applicable waiting period. The court will look at several factors when deciding whether to grant your petition, like the extent of your victim’s injuries, your criminal record, and rehabilitation efforts. A criminal defense attorney can help you draft this petition, and argue for your rights to be restored before the judge.

Contact Glendale’s Leading Defense Lawyers & Learn Your Options

When you’re ready to restore your firearms rights, you need a professional and experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona to advocate for you. To learn about how our attorneys can help you, as well as our affordable payment options, call today at (480) 833-8000 to schedule your free consultation.

Published On: May 24th, 2021Categories: Criminal Defense