Guns, airports and ‘right-to-carry’ law in Arizona

Arizona’s gun laws are as close to a constitutional carry as you can get, according to Sigmund Popko a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University.

In Arizona, those with firearms are allowed to carry their guns into airports up until the security gate, because the portion of airports before the security gates are public places. If a gun owner forgets that they are still carrying a firearm when trying to pass through the T.S.A. security checkpoint, they would be told to put it in the car or hand it to a family member nearby, or else the gun would be confiscated. As a matter of routine policy, the T.S.A. calls the local authorities when a firearm is discovered at the security checkpoint in a passenger’s carry-on bag or on their person, to ensure that the carrier does not have criminal intent. As long as there is no criminal intent found, the carrier can continue through security — after leaving the gun behind.

T.S.A. policy allows guns to be transported on a plane as long as they are in a hard backed checked bag and they are not loaded.

After security, guns permitted in checked bags only. TSA photo
After security, guns permitted in checked bags only. TSA photo

Under various gun laws, most states in the U.S. require a concealed-carry permit, but Arizona is not among them. Instead, anyone over the age of 21 can carry a concealed firearm without a permit, as long as they don’t enter specifically prohibited places, like school zones, with the weapon. So long as the gun carrier is not a felon, is not in the country illegally, does not have a drug habit and does not suffer from a mental illness, then the person is allowed to own and buy a firearm.

“If you’re otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm you don’t need to go the extra step of getting some kind of permit to carry openly or in most instances carry concealed,” Popko said.

The state requires that buyers be at least 21 years of age to buy a handgun without parental approval, and 18 years of age for a long gun. The buyer must be a citizen of Arizona and unless the buyer already has a concealed carry permit, their names must be run through a federal database. The buyer must also fill out a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form that asks the buyer questions to determine eligibility. While the state of Arizona tracks the information, it does not provide its own version of the federal form.


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