If you are buying a gun in Arizona for the first time, you may be wondering what to expect. At The Hub, we strive to provide an ideal environment for both experts and new firearm owners. This means that if you have questions about purchasing your first gun, we are here to help. However, please note that we cannot offer legal advice. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and while we can answer general questions, we cannot give specific advice about local or federal gun laws.
Can You Own a Gun in Arizona?
State laws in Arizona outline who can and cannot purchase a firearm. However, federal laws still apply when buying a gun from a federally-licensed dealer. One case where this is relevant is if you are between 18 and 21 years of age. In Arizona, laws are the same for handguns and long guns, and you can own either type of gun if you are 18 or older. However, on a federal level, you must be over 21 to buy a handgun but can purchase a long gun once you turn 18. This means that when buying from a gun shop in Arizona, you must be 21 years or older to purchase a handgun and 18 years or older to purchase a long gun. You must also be over 21 to purchase any type of ammunition.
In addition to meeting age requirements, you must provide a valid driver’s license (additional restrictions apply if you are not an Arizona resident). You also must not be a prohibited possessor as these individuals may not own firearms. As with age, both federal and state laws apply when purchasing from a federally-licensed gun dealer.
The following disqualify you from buying a gun in Arizona:
- A court has legally declared you a danger to yourself or others or mentally incompetent.
- You have been convicted of a felony or are on probation or parole.
- You are not a legal resident of the United States. Some exceptions do apply for special cases, such as diplomats.
The following disqualify you on a federal level, in addition to the factors listed above:
- You are currently facing felony charges.
- You were discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions.
- There is currently a court order restraining you from stalking, harassing, or threatening an intimate partner or their child.
- You have one or more convictions for domestic violence (including misdemeanors).
- You are an unlawful user of any controlled substance. Note that this does include marijuana and even if you have a medical marijuana card, you are still considered an unlawful user under federal law and may not possess a firearm.
Purchasing a Firearm
When you purchase a firearm in Arizona from a licensed store, you will need to undergo a background check, unless you possess a valid concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit. This process is relatively quick. You will need to fill out a form and then the gun shop will run your driver’s license through an FBI system. Intentionally providing false information on this form is a federal felony.
There are three possible results: approved, denied, and delayed. If you are approved, you simply pay for your firearm and the process is complete. In the case of denial, you will not be able to purchase the gun. If you feel you were denied in error or do not understand why you were disqualified, you can contact a lawyer for assistance. A delayed result indicates that there are factors that require further investigation. This is usually resolved within three business days.
Items that are regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) have additional regulations. This includes short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and suppressors. If you are purchasing any of these, you will need to register it with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The Hub specializes in NFA-controlled items and we are happy to go over how this process works.