Back to Directory

UPDATES to Edition 21 that are in Edition 22 (2006)

UPDATES to Edition 20 that are in Edition 21

UPDATES to Edition 19 that are in Edition 20
UPDATES to Edition 18 that are in Edition 19
UPDATES to Edition 17 that are in Edition 18
UPDATES to Edition 16 that are in Edition 17
UPDATES to Edition 15 that are in Edition 16

The 20th edition of The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide includes all the changes made in 1999, 2000 and 2001, including 39 new or changed statutes (listed at the end of this update).  Link to any of them online thru our site.  Grammatical and other incidental changes are generally not noted.  Page numbers below are based on the prior edition, Ed. 19. Citations are to the Arizona Revised Statutes unless noted.

2 - This is now the 20th edition, Copyright 2002 Alan Korwin, All Rights Reserved.  Our street address is now 4848 E. Cactus, #505-440.  Please correct your records.  All other contact information is unchanged.  ISBN is now 1-889632-07-4, $14.95 retail.

3 - Table of Contents updated to match text changes.

9 - I added this quote to the page: "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is to-day can guess what it will be to-morrow."  -James Madison, The Federalist Papers, #62

10 - The foreword, warnings and disclaimers have been upgraded.

12 - Legislators are now trying to outlaw specific or classes of firearms by price range, melting point, operating characteristics, accuracy, type of safety mechanism, type of sighting mechanism, point of origin, appearance, caliber, size and by name.

17 - At the time of printing there were more than 88,000 words of federal gun law.

21 - A new category of prohibited possessor is added: A person on probation for a domestic violence or felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest, or other form of early release program.

22 - Add: Employers sometimes require people to relinquish their right to arms while at work, as a condition of employment.  Authority for removing your rights in this manner is unclear.

In 2001, the state's referral system for child care home providers was modified to allow exclusion of providers who do not store their firearms and ammunition separately and under a key or combination lock.  No method of ascertaining compliance or enforcing the provision was included.

23 - It's illegal to knowingly provide firearms to a prohibited possessor.

24 - Rules for armed security guards underwent a lot of small changes, see §32-2612 et. seq.  Training increased to 16 hours from 8, new registration requirements for agencies and guards.

25 - A firearm used in violation of §13-2911 at a school may be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of.

26 - Arizona's restoration of gun rights laws are found in §13-906 and §13-912.

27 - Add this cite:  The federal your-child-must-have-a-note law is 18 USC §922(x).

28 - The main state law regulating minors, §13-3111, was declared unconstitutional by one of the state's appellate courts (Division 2, in Pima County), and a review was refused by the state Supreme Court.  The law remains on the books but appears unlikely to be enforced, and in any case would only apply in Maricopa County.  Similar basic rules for minors were written into law in 2000, in the preemption statute (§13-3108) but only apply in localities that choose to adopt them.  The old and probably inert law's description remains in Edition 20 (in small type) and the statute remains printed in Appendix D, for reference. Following the small type section are the more current conditions.  These are fully described in the later entry dealing with preemption.  All the text from "For these new rules..." on page 28 thru page 30 ending with "...those conflicting ordinances" is now probably obsolete.

Under preemption, §13-3108, localities in Arizona can decide to adopt standardized state rules concerning juveniles.  If they chose not to, then their minors would be free to bear arms, as long as no criminal conduct is involved, subject only to federal controls listed below.  The state rules for minors allowed under preemption are:

A minor who is not with a parent, grandparent, guardian, or properly authorized firearms safety instructor or hunting safety instructor can be banned by local authorities from having a firearm on themselves, near them, or in a vehicle, on a street or highway, or in any place open to the public, or on private property, unless the private property is owned or leased by the minor's parent, grandparent or guardian.  Those authorities cannot make any such rules for minors who are 14 to 17 years old who are:

• Legally hunting, at shooting events, or at marksmanship practice at established ranges or areas where shooting is not prohibited;

• Legally transporting unloaded firearms to legally go hunting;

• Legally transporting unloaded firearms between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. to go to a shooting event or marksmanship practice at an established range or areas where shooting is not prohibited;

• Engaged in producing crops, livestock or poultry or related products, ratites (flightless birds such as ostrich or emu), or storage of agricultural products.

A separate education statute (§15-841) says that possession, display or use of a firearm by a pupil is grounds for expulsion from school at the discretion of authorities on a case-by-case basis.  In addition, a person found to be delinquent loses the right to possess a firearm (§13-904), and cannot have one for at least ten years (§13-3113).  Minors are also affected by gun rules that must be made by public schools under §13-2911.

33 - Under §12-820.02, government officials grant themselves immunity from liability for letting a criminal get a gun, or preventing an innocent person from getting one, unless the officials are malevolent or grossly negligent.

38 - For the new government reciprocity scheme to work, the 50 states would need to complete 1,225 "deals" with each other (49+48+47, etc.), and this would not account for cities, counties and other "sub" laws.

40 - To get the current list of Arizona DPS-approved "you've-got-rights" states (sometimes referred to as "reciprocal" states) go to  As of this printing, four years after the law was passed, the list is AK, AR, KY, TX. UT (and UT just officially withdrew from the list).  I dunno, does that sound to you like the right to arms is infringed, or that reciprocity is a clever idea?

41 - If, after reading these lists, you get the sense that reciprocity schemes don't solve the problem and unshackle honest citizens, well, you're not alone.  Instead of a protected right to keep and bear arms, Americans' rights have been reduced to a short list of government approved states for licensees only, under the infringement of reciprocity schemes.

42 - The Preemption law was radically changed, requiring six new pages of text that replaces 42-44.  This highly charged political topic has been in the news ever since, with agencies and bureaucrats trying to squeeze out of the requirements, which prohibit them from making up their own gun rules except in narrowly defined circumstances.

45 - Frivolous Lawsuits.  In an effort to disarm the public, various groups, including in some cases tax-funded government officials, have initiated lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors and related businesses for the non-criminal manufacture and sale of firearms.  Arizona has enacted a statute forbidding such suits by political subdivisions of this state, saying in part:

"The citizens of this state have the right, under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 2, section 26 of the Arizona Constitution, to keep and bear arms."

"Businesses in the United States that are engaged in the lawful sale to the public of firearms or ammunition are not, and should not be liable for the harm caused by those who unlawfully misuse firearms or ammunition."

"The possibility of imposing liability on an entire industry for harm that is the sole responsibility of others is an abuse of the legal system, threatens the diminution of a basic constitutional right and constitutes an unreasonable burden on the free enterprise system."

"The liability actions commenced by political subdivisions are based on theories without foundation in the common law and American jurisprudence. Such an expansion of liability would constitute a deprivation of the rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed to citizens of this state under both the Constitution of Arizona and the United States Constitution."  See (§12-714) for complete details.

49 - Delete the reference to Brady form 5300.35, this requirement expired.

51 - Perhaps the most dramatic change in this edition came not from the legislature, but from the judiciary:

Open Carry

The rules for open carry were quite simple in Arizona, when the laws meant what they said (described below) until the late 1990s.  Then, several activist judges literally rewrote our laws from the bench, creating "law" that was never passed by the legislature and creating significant risks for the average armed resident.

The new "test" for whether open carry is legal -- not written in any law -- now seems to be, if your gun is readily accessible for immediate use, the means of conveyance must reasonably place others on notice you're armed.  The phrases "readily accessible for immediate use," "conveyance" and "reasonably place others on notice" are undefined inventions of the court; "conveyance" seems to imply holster, gun case or other device for carrying a firearm.

The enacted statute applies to adults who are not prohibited from firearm possession.  You may carry firearms, loaded or unloaded, throughout Arizona, subject to the following restrictions.  If you carry a gun on yourself and don't have a concealed-weapon permit, the statute says it must be at least partially visible or in a belt holster that's at least partially visible.  See §13-3102 for the letter of the law.  The statute says you may also carry a gun in a case designed for carrying weapons or a scabbard, and the case or scabbard must be at least partially visible, or else carried in luggage.

The simple, long-standing partially visible standard has now been reinterpreted by some courts to practically require blatant display, and they have invented other non-statutory conditions that place honest people bearing arms in jeopardy.  Specifically, some judges may seek to increase your risk -- not written in the law -- if you're on foot and your gun is readily accessible for immediate use (which a gun in a holster obviously is).  Under statute, "immediately accessible" conditions only apply to vehicles, described below.

In addition, the law does not define what a holster or weapon case is or looks like (common sense used to apply), but in 1995 an appellate court set a precedent by saying a fanny-pack holster does not qualify -- it doesn't look enough like a weapon case -- without saying how much is enough. This created enormous risk for decent residents everywhere, and the court didn't seem to mind. If you're carrying openly but someone can't immediately tell, you may be held in violation.  Yes, that's right, it's confusing.

Authorities and lower courts have been inconsistent in dealing with people who carry openly -- from completely ignoring a person to court convictions -- creating a substantial degree of risk, and who wants to be the next test case.  The risk is pretty much eliminated, however, if you have a concealed-weapon permit, or if you carry openly in a manner so that people can't mistake that you're armed.

There is a certain pride that Arizona is an open carry state -- it reflects our pioneer sense of freedom.  Indeed, many states have made it much harder to move a gun from point A to point B than it is here, where people are (or certainly used to be) free to take their firearms around pretty much as they see fit.

But as anyone who has tried it knows, strapping on a six shooter in most metropolitan areas attracts so much attention that it serves as a heavy deterrent.  Requiring open carry actually limits the practicality of traveling armed, in a modern society where being inconspicuous is the civilized norm.  Unless you're in costume or at a special event, many people just won't wear a gun while out and about these days.  This is less true however in smaller towns and rural areas, where finding people strolling around with sidearms is somehow less poignant, and certainly a more common sight.  At any rate, you do see people from time to time, statewide, going about their affairs, openly bearing arms.

Guns in Cars

State law says you may carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, anywhere in a car (or other means of transportation), in a case, holster, scabbard, pack or luggage, or if it is plainly visible (see the special rules concerning school grounds, and the test described under Open Carry, above).  A gun may also be out of sight in a storage compartment, trunk or the glove compartment of the vehicle, without violating the statute.  Without a concealed-weapon permit, it's illegal to have an unholstered gun otherwise concealed and within immediate control of any person in a car or other means of transportation.  Violation is a class 1 misdemeanor.  See §13-3102 for the letter of the law.

This rule causes a great deal of confusion because a gun may be concealed from sight in a car (in the glove box, for example) and still comply with the statute, even without a permit.  In a holster, a gun may be concealed anywhere in a car (but not directly on yourself) and not violate the statute.  The authorities, however, have been known to mistakenly ticket or arrest individuals, who must later learn their fate in a court, especially for a holstered gun under the seat, making this popular carrying spot a risky choice.  An unholstered gun under the seat, or under a hat or a newspaper is a good way to go to jail.  No one ever said that these laws make a lot of sense, or that they're enforced fairly, just that they are the laws.

52 - Due to judicial activism, add this at the end of the "Guns in Cars" section: As with open carry, if your gun is readily accessible for immediate use, the means of conveyance must clearly communicate you're armed.

62 - You cannot enter any public establishment or attend any public event and carry a deadly weapon after the people in charge of the establishment or event make a reasonable request for you to give them custody of the weapon.  Failure to place the weapon in their custody or leave is a class 1 misdemeanor.  A sign at an entrance point asking you to relinquish custody may be considered a reasonable request. A public establishment is a structure, vehicle or craft that is owned, leased or operated by an Arizona governmental entity.  A public event is a named or sponsored event of limited duration run by government or by a private entity with a permit or license from the government.  It does not include an unsponsored gathering of people in public.  See §13-3102 for the letter of the law.

It's a class 2 felony to bring a gun into a correctional facility or its grounds, or into or around a secure care facility.  (It used to be a class 5 felony for juvenile secure care facility, which is now redefined).

63 - School personnel paragraph now reads: School boards, exempt from the preemption law, must make and enforce policies banning guns from school grounds, under §15-341, except for peace officers or persons with a specific authorization from the school administrator.  School personnel must immediately report violations to the school administrator, who must immediately report violations to a peace officer, per §15-515.  Public colleges and other public educational institutions must develop their own rules, as required by §13-2911.  A pupil may be expelled for more than a year, under §15-841, for use, display or possession of a gun, or for bringing a gun to school, at the school authority's discretion.  Federal rules also apply, described in this chapter and Chapter 7.

72 - Special exemption for CCW permittees:  A valid CCW permit exempts you from restrictions in local and state parks under preemption, if local bureaucrats have opted to ban the right to bear arms in those parks.  Open carry appears to be legal in such cases if you have a CCW permit.

75 - Add the words "and destructive devices" after "weapons" for clarity.

83 - In the first paragraph, "public ranges" now says "public and private ranges."  The old BLM printed surface management maps have been replaced with a high tech print-on-demand cartography system.  The section on where can you shoot adds this note: Remember that under the preemption law, described in Chapter 1, parks and preserves can limit simple possession of firearms by posting special signs, even though they may not be empowered to regulate shooting per se.

85 - The Posted Areas list now includes an entry for preemption:  Local parks can be posted to allow only people with a valid CCW permit to carry firearms.

86 - BLM now uses a maps-on-demand system system.

87 - The "Cities" entry is changed by preemption.  It is usually illegal to shoot, with criminal negligence, recklessness, knowledge or intent, into or within the boundaries of any city in the state.  Under §13-3107, amended in 2000 and nicknamed Shannon's law, discharge within city limits is a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony, at the prosecutor's discretion, even for a negligent (accidental) discharge.  The new exceptions include:

• Animal Attacks -- Shooting within cities is allowed in self defense or defense of another person against an animal attack, if a reasonable person would believe that it is immediately necessary and reasonable to protect yourself or the other person from the animal;

• B•B Guns -- With adult supervision for shooting air or carbon dioxide gas operated guns (be certain that property and people are not endangered or threatened in any way);

• Blanks -- The prohibition against firing in cities under §13-3107 does not apply if the firearm is using blanks (though disturbing the peace or other charges could still apply);

• Remote areas -- Shooting is not prohibited in city areas that are more than one mile from any occupied structure as defined in §13-3101.  Many cities have annexed large tracts of land that would qualify under this exception, but it's important to note that this definition of an "occupied" structure would include your own empty vehicle, or pretty much any other object where a person could be, whether occupied or not.

90 - Certain easy-access areas of the Tonto National Forest have been closed.  For the full details on this controversial action, and a link to maps showing the closures, go to our website and use the blue Tonto button.

"Orders 12-146-R and 12-182, 8/7/01. Prohibits discharging a firearm or gas gun, except authorized hunting." Note: These two orders removed all 80,000 acres of commonly used decades-old metro-Phoenix target practice areas, E. of Carefree, N. of Scottsdale, W. of Bush Highway, and N. of Mesa and Apache Junction, raising a firestorm of protest that failed to prevent the blanket closures, and now requires metro-Phoenix residents to push far further into the forest for recreational shooting.

92 - Shooting Ranges:  The definition of a shooting range has been changed and now includes a facility operated by:

• A club affiliated with the National Rifle Association, The Amateur Trapshooting Association, The National Skeet Association, or any other nationally recognized shooting organization;

• Any agency of the federal government;

• An agency of this state, or a county or city government that will have the range within its boundaries;

• Any public or private school;

• With adult supervision for shooting in underground ranges on private or public property;

• With adult supervision for shooting air or carbon dioxide gas operated guns.

94 - State Parks add: Firearms may be carried in the parks, but under §13-3108 parks under one square mile and developed areas in any parks may be posted to ban the right to bear arms, except for persons with CCW permits.  If a Park Ranger requests that you remove your weapons in an area not posted, you would have to place the weapon in the Ranger's custody, under §13-3102.  Also, a new section:

Shooting Range Protection

A special fund is set up under §17-273 to be used by the Arizona Dept. of Game and Fish on shooting ranges open to the public and run by government or non-profit groups for:

• shooting range engineering and studies;
• noise abatement;
• safety enhancement;
• shooting range design;
• new range sites and construction;
• range relocations; and
• other projects needed to operate and maintain ranges under good practices and management.

The Dept. may also accept private grants, gifts and contributions to carry out these goals.  The Game and Fish Director and State Land Commissioner are directed to work together to identify state trust land suitable for new or relocated ranges.

102 - On the cover of this book is the question, "When can you shoot to kill?"  The unasked part of the question is, "...and expect to be justified in the eyes of the law."  You are justified when the authorities or a jury determine, after the fact, that your actions were justified.  You never know beforehand.

104 - Note that court cases that may have an effect are not included.

105 - A previously undetected and radical change in the law was enacted without the knowledge of anyone I've been able to find. Previously, if you brought up "justification" in self defense, the state had to prove that your actions were not justified.  But now, in a 180 degree turnaround:

Burden of Proof

"It is up to you to prove that your actions were justifiable."

A defendant must prove any affirmative defense made under the justification laws by a preponderance of the evidence.  (The presumptions made under the crime prevention statute, §13-411, and under the intoxication statute, §13-503, are not affected by this law.)  See §13-205 for the letter of the law, and read the new precautionary note below.

108 - The confusing "necessity defense" has a new condition: The necessity defense is unavailable for an offense involving homicide or serious physical injury.

Self Defense During An Animal Attack

"You can defend against a dangerous animal attack."

Added by Shannon's law in 2000, §13-3107 allows shooting within cities in self defense or defense of another person against an animal attack, if a reasonable person would believe that it is immediately necessary and reasonable to protect yourself or the other person from the animal.  This right to defend against an animal attack is also protected under the preemption law, §13-3108.

Precautionary Note

"Sometimes guilty people go free, and sometimes innocent people do not."

Many factors make reliance on justification laws quite risky.  Yes, the laws support the use of physical or deadly physical force in life-threatening emergencies, and yes, your right to self defense is an invaluable and fundamental right.  People are indeed often acquitted under justification, but remember that justice is not always served, and people often wonder afterwards if a guilty party walked.  Remember that you are only justified if the authorities or a jury agree, after the fact, that you were justified.  You get to sweat it out the whole time the case is pursued, which can take years.  Changes to the law can complicate your defense, such as when the burden of proof law was changed.

Previously, if a person brought up the issue of justification, the prosecution had to prove the acts were not justified.  In a stunning reversal, the law was changed to make the person charged prove they were justified by a preponderance of the evidence, an enormous blow to the protections Arizonans once enjoyed.  Remember that a prosecutor's role is to work hard to convict, regardless of your guilt or innocence.  The pursuit of high conviction rates may lead to what some would consider dirty lawyer tricks, with your future on the line. There's an old saying that has some merit here, "Better a criminal goes free than a lien on your home." It is admittedly a very tough and risky choice.

109 - Aggravated assault now may range from class 2 to class 6 felony depending on circumstances.

110 - "Peace and quiet" should be "peace or quiet."

111 - The warning-shot paragraph is fine tuned.

112 - Bullet-Proof Vests and Body Armor

"A crime committed while wearing a bullet-proof vest carries greater penalties."

There is no law against owning or wearing "bullet-proof vests" (or as the trade refers to them, bullet-resistant vests or ballistic vests), and in fact, they are basically defensive tools owned by many citizens.  However, committing a felony while wearing body armor (now defined by §13-3116) is itself a class 4 felony, and is considered an aggravating circumstance (§13-702) that may be used in court to increase the penalty for a conviction.

Aiming a Laser at a Peace Officer

"It's illegal to shine lasers or bright lights at the police."

Introduced in 2000, intentionally or knowingly shining a laser at another person if you know or reasonably should know that the person is a peace officer is a class 1 misdemeanor (§13-1213).  Laser is broadly described to include any visible light beam used for aiming, targeting or pointing out features.

Hoax Bombs

"You can't go around scaring people with phony bombs."

It is a class 1 misdemeanor to intentionally terrify, intimidate, threaten or harass anyone with a simulated explosive device (§13-3110).  Placing or sending such a device is considered prima facie evidence of illegal intent if the device does not have conspicuous written notice attached that it is inert and only serves as a curio, relic, display or for similar purpose.

Forensics Firearms Identification System

"DPS is officially running a database on firearm information."

The Dept. of Public Safety was authorized in 2000, under §13-3115, to establish and run an identification system to provide investigative information on criminal street gangs and the unlawful use of firearms.

119 - Numerous sections of Tonto National Forest are now closed to outdoor marksmanship.  (Used to say: Two small areas of Tonto are closed to all shooting except hunting.)

125 - Small verbiage changes made on the federal law intro.

127 - One more federal law went on the books as we went to print: Omnibus Consolidated & Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999 (numerous requirements detailed later in this chapter).

129 - Description of Brady law cleaned up and brought current (now that this "handgun" law federalizes all rifle and shotgun sales), thru pg. 133.

139 - 6,000 students were caught and reported in 1997 for bringing weapons to school (prior text mistakenly says guns).

141 - Omnibus Consolidated & Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999.  This 4,000-page budget bill was secretly drafted in committee, rushed to the floor of Congress, voted on two days later, and enacted in October 1998 without any of your representatives actually reading it.  It increased federal gun law by almost 6%, with provisions for NICS funding, gun-law enforcement funding, gun safety devices sold at retail, public gun safety training funding, restrictions on aliens, NICS record-keeping and taxing prohibitions, shotguns and certain antiques redefined, undetectable gun law reenactment, relief for importers, a pawn shop NICS glitch fix, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency disbanded with duties moved to the State Dept., and a special ban on using the U.S. global arms control and disarmament agenda against the public.  Detailed analysis is available on our website,

145 - The federal gun-law growth chart now goes to 2000.

169 - We have introduced a line of classic "political" books for being more effective, like "Getting To Yes" by Fisher and Ury, "Confrontational Politics" by Richardson, and even "Parliament of Whores" by P.J. O'Rourke -- for the real dirt on our politicians.  Check it out on our website anytime.

173 - Municipality is defined for the preemption law:  Any city or town and any property fully enclosed within the city or town.

177 - Telephone area codes are updated for 602, 520, 480, 623 and 928.

181 - Appendix D (The Statutes).  Now updated to include laws effective as of Jan. 1, 2002.  The following 39 laws were changed or are newly added:

4-244; 12-820.02; 12-714; 13-107; 13-205; 13-604; 13-702; 13-906; 13-912; 13-1204; 13-1213; 13-1406; 13-2501; 13-2514; 13-2911; 13-3101; 13-3102; 13-3107; 13-3108; 13-3110; 13-3111; 13-3115; 13-3116; 13-3601; 13-3602; 13-3708; 15-341; 15-841; 17-273; 17-304; 17-340; 32-2612; 32-2615; 32-2622; 32-2623; 32-2624; 32-2625; 32-2632; 32-2635; 33-1368.

218 - Back Matter has been updated to reflect our new books and the changing times.


Alan Korwin
"We publish the gun laws."
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
602-996-4020 Phone
602-494-0679 FAX
1-800-707-4020 Orders

Call, write, fax or click for a free catalog.

Get our free gun-law updates, sign up on our home page.

Alan Korwin is the author of seven best-selling books on gun law, including the unabridged guide "Gun Laws of America -- Every Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain English Summaries," and state gun guides for AZ, CA, FL, TX, VA.  This paper is part of an ongoing series, click Position Papers on our home page, or write or call for copies.






Back to Directory

UPDATES to Edition 21 that are in Edition 22 (2006)

UPDATES to Edition 20 that are in Edition 21

UPDATES to Edition 19 that are in Edition 20
UPDATES to Edition 18 that are in Edition 19
UPDATES to Edition 17 that are in Edition 18
UPDATES to Edition 16 that are in Edition 17
UPDATES to Edition 15 that are in Edition 16

Gun LawsGun Rights Gun PoliticsFree SpeechVideosSelf Defense and Safety
SurvivalPolice GuidesKnivesNovelsThe Founders PackageHistory of Rights
ButtonsRecent Additions  123Women & KidsFirst-Time Gun Owners
E-BooksNewest ProductsCloseoutsPackage Deals
Bloomfield Press and are domains owned by Alan Korwin.

Alan is a nationally recognized author of numerous books
on gun laws and other topics.

If you like this site you'll like his books. Take a look