What to Do If You Get Pulled Over With a Gun in Arizona

red and blue cop lights - pulled over with a gun in Arizona

What to Do If You Get Pulled Over With a Gun in Arizona

Getting pulled over by a police officer is never a gun experience. But it can be especially stressful if you have a firearm in your vehicle whey the pull you over. As an open carry state, it is legal to transport a loaded gun in your car in Arizona. However, there are still many requirements you must meet when owning a gun, and steps you should take when handling a traffic stop. Here’s what you should do if you get pulled over with a gun in Arizona to avoid any criminal charges.

Follow These Steps  If You Get Pulled Over with a Gun in Arizona

Keep Calm

One of the most important things to do when pulled over with a gun in Arizona is to remain calm and be polite. It’s a good idea to work with the officer by being compliant and respectful. Although you may be nervous, avoid making any sudden movements. 

But if you feel that the officer isn’t treating you with the same respect, take down their information and address the situation in court. Always avoid confrontation—don’t try to defend yourself outside of the courtroom. This can escalate the situation and you may end up getting charged with a crime. Wait for the right place and the right time—in court. 

If you’re in Arizona and you get pulled over with a gun in the car, follow these important steps:

  1. Turn on the ceiling light and keep your hands on the steering wheel. 
  2. If asked, tell them you are carrying a gun.
  3. Ask the officer why they pulled you over. 

Remember: if you’re unsure of the situation, you are legally allowed to film the traffic stop on your cell phone. Especially if it seems like the person pulling you over might not be a real cop.

Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights is the first step to ensuring you feel safe when pulled over. If you get pulled over in Arizona while open or concealed carrying, you should know the following: 

In Arizona, you can legally open carry a handgun. You can also concealed carry by having the gun in your pocket or otherwise hidden. Arizona does not require you to register your gun, meaning you can carry a concealed gun without the need for a permit.  

You are also legally allowed to drive with your gun in the car in Arizona. However, there are only a few criteria you must meet: 

  • You must be at least 21 years of age to carry a loaded and concealed gun without a permit. 
  • You have not been otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm (such as if you are a minor). 
  • If you’re 18-20 years old, you are required to drive with the gun in a case, holster, storage compartment, trunk, or similar enclosure, like a glove compartment. 

Another important thing to understand is that if you get pulled over, you are not legally required to tell the police officer that you have a gun in your car or on your person. However, if an officer specifically asks you if you have a firearm in the car, you must tell them. 

Remember that you’re not acting outside of the law by driving with a gun. This knowledge will help you feel calm if you do get pulled over. 

The officer that pulled you over may ask you to hand over your gun. Do as they say and know that this isn’t permanent. They only want to hang onto it until the interaction is over to ensure a safe interaction. They will return your weapon after completing the traffic stop. Do not reach for your gun unless the officer asks you to hand it over.

Another tip to remember: if you’re driving with a gun in your glove compartment, where most of us keep our license and registration, do not automatically open it to retrieve your information. Wait until the officer who pulled you over asks for this information. Before grabbing what you need, tell the officer that there is a gun in the compartment. This transparency will keep you safe and may prevent the officer from overreacting.

Contact Us

Even if you do the right thing when pulled over with a gun in Arizona, there is always a chance you could be treated unfairly. If you feel that your rights are being breached, take it up with your attorney, not the officer. You don’t want to get a ticket, especially if you’re operating in accordance with the law. Contact Coolidge Law Firm if you find yourself in need of an Arizona criminal defense attorney.


Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash (5/19/2022)