Can Arizona Residents Carry a Gun in the Car?

arizona open carry -- inside of car dashboard

Can Arizona Residents Carry a Gun in the Car?

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In a previous blog post, we discussed the Arizona open carry law, which allows residents to carry a firearm as long as it is visible to those around them. Arizona’s Constitutional Carry law permits its citizens to carry a concealed firearm as well. Do these laws change if a person is driving in a car? And what happens if they get pulled over with a gun in the vehicle? Let’s answer these questions now.  

Can you carry a loaded gun in your car in Arizona? 

Under Arizona’s gun laws, any resident 21 years of age and older who is legally allowed to own a firearm, may openly carry a loaded firearm. Open carry means that the gun must be in a holster or some other transport device on the owner visible to other people in the area. 

Arizona residents do not have to register their firearms with the state and can carry them without a permit. These same laws pertain to a person’s vehicle. Arizona Constitutional Carry law allows residents ages 21 and over to carry a loaded firearm in their vehicle whether it’s concealed or not.

However, the law is a bit different for residents ages 18 to 20. Arizona statute ARS 13-3102 makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to carry a concealed deadly weapon, such as a gun. Drivers ages 18 to 20 may carry a loaded gun in their vehicles, but it must be an open carry, and visible to anyone looking through the windows of the car from the outside.

ARS 13-3102 also dictates what gun owners should do when pulled over by a police officer with a loaded gun in their car. During a traffic stop, you do not have to tell a police officer you have a gun in the car unless they specifically ask you. If a police officer asks you if you have a gun in the car, you must answer truthfully. Under ARS 13-3102, lying to a police officer about having a gun in your car is a Class 1 misdemeanor

When can I not carry a gun in my car? 

Although Arizona is a very gun-friendly state, there are some places where you cannot have a gun in your car. 

Schools

In Arizona, it is illegal to have a loaded gun in your car when on the property of an elementary, middle, or high school. And, if there is no adult in or near the vehicle, you must keep an unloaded gun concealed and locked up.

Private Parking Lots

Arizona property owners have the right to prohibit guns on their property. This can include parking lots for private businesses and on other types of property protected with fencing and/or a security guard. Always read the signage before pulling into a parking lot to check if you can have a gun in your car when entering. 

Driving from One State to Another

Federal law comes into effect when driving with a gun in the car from Arizona to other states. Under Federal law, a person can legally drive with a gun from one state to another if:

  • They are legally allowed to own the gun in both the state they’re leaving from and going to
  • The gun is unloaded
  • The driver stores the gun and ammunition somewhere in the car out of reach while driving, such as in the trunk

When taking a gun along on interstate travel, always familiarize yourself with the gun laws at your destination and in the states you’ll be driving through.

Understanding Arizona Open Carry Laws

The State of Arizona does much to protect the Second Amendment constitutional rights of its citizens. However, gun owners still need to understand the state’s expectations for owning and carrying a potentially deadly weapon. If you’re not a responsible gun owner, you can quickly find yourself in legal trouble.  

If you have questions regarding Arizona Constitutional Carry and Open Carry laws, call certified criminal law specialist Todd Coolidge today at 480-264-5111 in Chandler or 602-795-0770 in Phoenix.

Photo by why kei on Unsplash

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