01-Feb-2013

By Attorney Mark J. Andersen

With the entire gun debate ongoing, it seems an appropriate time to discuss and understand what our rights are in Arizona.  
Two areas to understand: Possession and use.  

In Arizona it is legal to possess a firearm so long as the person in possession is not a “Prohibited Possessor”, the firearm is not a “Prohibited Weapon” and the location where it is carried does not forbid firearms. In fact, it is legal in Arizona to carry a gun concealed without a permit, so long as the individual is at least 21 years old and otherwise legal to carry a weapon and it is on property that doesn’t disallow firearms. i.e. some public establishments, “school grounds”, polling places on the day of elections or nuclear power plants.  The law states that when contacted by a law enforcement officer a person carrying concealed must answer the officer if the officer asks whether the person is carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Using a gun improperly in Arizona may not only be life-threatening but it can also be quite devastating to the individual behind the gun.  There are certain justifications in the law that allow an individual to use or threaten to use “deadly force”.  However, a caution here is appropriate.  Any justification defense needs to be “reasonable.”  For example, you can’t stab someone who is threatening to slap your face.  There is a law in Arizona that permits deadly force to stop certain imminent crimes like Rape and Burglary but this law also requires the shooter’s actions to be reasonable.  It may not be found “reasonable” to shoot at an unarmed and fleeing burglar.  Disagreement about the “reasonableness” of your actions could land you in a courtroom in a very expensive and protracted proceeding that may end with a lengthy prison sentence.
 
     Probably the best advice I could give a law abiding firearm carrier is this: If you are prone to fits of anger while driving your car on our Arizona roadways, leave your guns at home.  If you are prone to fits of anger while at home(especially if you drink alcoholic beverages) maybe you shouldn’t have a gun there either.  Brandishing a gun while in an argument with another seems to be one of the more common ways to learn more than you ever wanted to know about our justice system and about my fee agreements. In light of recent tragedies, I would hasten to add that if you or a family member has mental health issues and is being prescribed medications, be a responsible gun owner and keep the guns out of reach.

For more detailed information about Arizona Gun Laws, I would endorse, Alan Korwin’s book Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide and his New Release After You Shoot: Your gun’s hot, The perp’s not, now what?

If you have questions about your gun rights in Arizona or if you have determined that you need experienced legal representation, please call 480-733-6800 and ask to speak with Mark Andersen, or visit our website at http://www.davismiles.com/