Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.
Similarly, Arizona prohibits a person knowingly possessing a firearm if the person:
- Has been convicted of a felony or who has been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to possess or carry a firearm has not been restored;
- Is at the time of possession serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility;
- Is at the time of possession serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence offense or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest or release on any other basis;
- Is an undocumented alien or a nonimmigrant alien traveling with or without documentation in this state for business or pleasure or who is studying in this state and who maintains a foreign residence abroad, subject to certain exceptions;
- Has been found to constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored;
- Has been found incompetent, and not subsequently found competent; or
- Has been found guilty except insane.1
Arizona also prohibits any person who was previously adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, from possessing, using or carrying a firearm within ten years from the date of his or her adjudication or release or escape from custody if the person was previously adjudicated for an offense that, if committed as an adult, would constitute:
- Burglary in the first degree;
- Burglary in the second degree;
- Any felony offense involving the use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
- A “serious offense.”2
If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an offense that if committed by an adult would be a misdemeanor, the court may prohibit the juvenile from carrying or possessing a firearm while the juvenile is under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections or the juvenile court.3
Restoration of firearm rights: The time when a convicted felon or a person adjudicated delinquent may file for restoration of firearm rights depends on the seriousness of the offense; some felons and persons adjudicated delinquent are able to seek restoration as soon as two years after discharge from probation or imprisonment.4 In addition, in 2009, Arizona established a procedure through which a person who was found to constitute a danger to himself, herself, or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled may have his or her right to possess a firearm restored.5 This procedure was amended in 2011.6
An emergency or final protective order against domestic violence may prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order. For more information, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Arizona .
For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Arizona.
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- Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3102(A)(4) and 13-3101(A)(7). Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(A)(5) also states that a conviction for a felony suspends the person’s right to possess a firearm. A person who is adjudicated delinquent under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341 for a felony also does not have the right to carry or possess a gun or firearm. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(H).
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3113. “Serious offense” is defined in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-706.
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341(R).
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-105(13), 13-905 – 13-912.01.
- 2009 Ariz. ALS 145 § 1 (codified as Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-925).
- 2011 Ariz. ALS 304 §§ 2-3.