Can I Carry a Gun in My Vehicle in Arizona?
The Second Amendment grants you the right to bear arms. However, certain laws dictate how you must bear these arms. Regarding traveling with firearms by car, Arizona law lays out specific rules that answer this question: “Are you allowed to carry a gun in your car?”
If you are facing a firearms transportation charge, the gun crime lawyers at Brandon White Law, with decades of combined criminal defense experience, are ready to speak to you and find out how we can help.
Can I Carry a Gun in My Vehicle in Arizona at 18?
The answer to the question, “Can I carry a gun in my car at 18?” is a qualified yes. Certain laws cover how to keep a gun in your car. According to Arizona gun laws, adults 18 to 20 may carry their guns in vehicles as long as the gun is an open carry.
In a vehicle, open carry means that any person looking into the vehicle can see and identify the firearm. This is in contrast to concealed carry in vehicles, in which the firearm is hidden from view.
At what age can you legally carry a gun in your car if the gun is concealed? The Constitutional Carry Law sets that age as 21.
Can You Carry Loaded Gun in Your Car?
Can you have a gun in your car that is loaded? If you can legally own a firearm in Arizona, you are usually allowed to carry loaded guns in your car, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns. However, some rules apply. Running afoul of them could lead to serious criminal liability.
As stated, age-related requirements are in effect regarding the transportation of all weapons, loaded and unloaded. In addition to those rules, location rules also exist. Some places and laws prohibit individuals from coming onto their property with a loaded gun. But generally speaking, if you are transiting public roadways within the state and can legally possess a firearm, then you can transport one while it is loaded.
Can you ride with a shotgun in your car? Yes, in most circumstances. And if you’re wondering, “Can I carry a shotgun in my truck along with my handgun?” the answer is also yes.
Exemptions to Carrying a Loaded Gun in Your Car
Exceptions to the right to carry loaded guns in your car are generally location-dependent. Violating these exceptions can result in a criminal charge.
Can I keep my gun in my car on someone else’s property? Owners and tenants of private property, including commercial and residential properties, can prohibit a person from carrying a loaded gun in their car while on their property, but only under narrow circumstances.
For example, guns can be prohibited in these areas:
- Designated, secure parking areas with security access and firearm storage.
- Parking areas of owner-occupied single-family homes.
- Certain parking areas located on U.S. government military property.
When these circumstances do not apply, property owners and tenants can generally require that firearms not be visible from the outside of the vehicle.
K-12 School Property
It comes as no surprise that laws limit the right of individuals to have loaded weapons in their vehicles on school property. However, there can be no law against having an unloaded firearm in a vehicle on school property as long as the gun’s owner complies with certain conditions:
- Storing the gun out of sight when not in the vehicle.
- Storing the gun in the best place to put a gun in a car (i.e., the trunk).
- Keeping the car locked.
If you are heading to a K–12 school to pick up a student, your gun must be unloaded, or you may face severe criminal penalties. If you’re wondering, “Can you leave a gun in a car on school property?” the answer is yes — but only if it is stored correctly.
Vehicle Owned by Your Employer
Employers may prohibit employees from carrying an Arizona handgun in cars if the car belongs to the employer and the employee is on the clock. This rule applies to both government and private employers.
However, no prohibition exists if the possession, transportation, or use of a firearm in a vehicle is essential to your duties. And independent contractors typically do not count as employees.
Rules on how to carry a gun in a car change when you leave the state. In addition to federal firearms rules, the rules of the states you visit also apply. Generally speaking, you can transport a firearm across state lines if:
- You legally possess said firearm in your home jurisdiction.
- You can legally possess said firearm in the jurisdiction you are traveling to.
- The gun and ammunition are not stored within reach.
Is it legal to keep a shotgun in your car when you are traveling across the U.S.? You can travel through states where you are not allowed to carry firearms, but these states can not be your final destination.
Do You Have to Tell an Officer that You’re Carrying a Gun in Your Car?
Yes and no. If an officer asks you whether you have a firearm in your vehicle, you must tell the truth. According to the provisions of ARS 13-3102, you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for lying to an officer about having a gun in your car. However, if the officer does not inquire into the presence of a firearm, you are under no obligation to volunteer that information.
With that being said, informing an officer that you have a firearm can prevent a dangerous incident from occurring during the course of the officer’s investigation.
How to Inform an Officer You Are Carrying a Handgun
If you are driving with a gun and get pulled over, you can take a few concrete steps that might help keep you and your passengers safe:
- Always remain calm and polite.
- Refrain from any fast or jerking movements after you have been pulled over. Remember that officers are trained to suspect that motorists have firearms.
- Keep your hands where they are visible, such as on the steering wheel (unless the officer gives you a different command, such as putting your hands out of the window).
- Turn on the interior dome light if it is nighttime. You want the officer to have full visibility of your hands.
- When the officer approaches, ask them why you were pulled over and listen to what they have to say. As mentioned, you are required to answer truthfully when asked about the presence of a firearm, but you need not mention its presence if not asked.
What happens if a gun found in car? Who gets charged if it is stored incorrectly? If you run afoul of a regulation — or are accused of violating one — and you are arrested, your first step should be to contact a criminal defense attorney. The earlier you have representation, the more your attorney can likely do for your case.
Get the Answers to Your Questions with a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer
Gun owners in Arizona can usually travel with their loaded weapons. But there are exceptions. If you violate one of these exceptions, even if the violation is accidental, you could be charged with a crime. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can defend you and represent your interests in court.
Contact Brandon White Law today to work with a firm founded by a former Arizona State trooper who knows how the state works.
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