Carrying a gun in plain sight is legal in Arizona, but if you want to carry a concealed weapon, you need a permit.
"In Arizona (once you have a CCW permit), you can carry as many guns as you want, concealed anywhere on your person or in your vehicle," Glenn Oliver of Eagle Personal Protection said.
Oliver teaches a class for people interested in getting the state's permit to carry a concealed weapon. He is certified by both the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the National Rifle Association to teach pistol and personal protection classes. He taught classes and worked for Shooters World in the Valley before moving to Strawberry several years ago.
"If your weapon's in plain sight, it's okay to carry in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. But to know exactly what's allowed and what isn't, when you travel, you should check the ‘Travelers Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States' on the Internet," he said. Another resource Oliver recommends is www.gunlaws.com.
"If you have any doubt that you will use it, don't carry a gun. You don't have a right to kill someone, you can only use as much force to stop a threat as needed" Oliver said.
He said if a person is carrying a weapon for personal protection, they should be using specialized ammunition.
"Shoot something that's going to stop the threat."
A CCW permit does not allow a person to take a gun into any place where the law prohibits guns, Oliver said. These include:
- Any establishment licensed to serve alcohol;
- Polling places on election day;
- Commercial nuclear generating station;
- School grounds;
- Any federal facility; correctional facility or grounds or a juvenile correction facility;
- National parks (but not National forests);
- A military base (without approval of base commander);
- Any airport;
- A game refuge;
- Any private business or event by request of the owner or operator; or
- Indian reservations.
Oliver said, "There are three conditions that must exist for any shooting to be justified. There must be a threat, the person making the threat must have the means and ability to carry out the threat and they have to have the opportunity to carry it out."
A threat is defined as "You must believe you or someone else is in danger of death or grave bodily injury."
Means, or ability, is defined as, "The person making the threat must have the means or ability to carry out the threat."
Opportunity is "The threat must be imminent -- the person making the threat must have the opportunity to carry it out."
And while a shooting may be justified, the shooter could still face prosecution, plus, a shooter is always responsible for whatever they hit, Oliver said.
Discussing the law and a shooting incident, Oliver suggested several steps: be the first to call 911, but only tell the operator there has been a shooting and the address, don't give your name or any other information, just hang up and wait for law enforcement officials to arrive; always keep your eye on your assailant's weapon and put your own weapon on the ground and put your foot on it. He said you should only take your driver's license from your wallet, "That is the only piece of identification the police have a right to," and put your wallet back in your pocket.
"If a shooting can be avoided it should be avoided," Oliver said.
His suggestions: walk away from a confrontation; don't stop in a road rage incident; if you are at a stop light and can't drive away, lean on your horn, blow a whistle, drop a "jogger" a plastic case with a shrill alarm that cannot be turned off until a special device is inserted into it; if someone is following you, don't drive home, go to the nearest convenience store and call for help if it's needed; use pepper spray, which is legal in Arizona, before using a gun.
Oliver said if a gun must be used, use it, don't threaten to use it and don't fire a warning shot. Threatening with a gun is illegal and warning shots show the justification for a shooting did not exist, he explained.
To obtain a CCW permit you cannot have any felony convictions or any convictions for domestic violence; you must be 21; and pass both written and target-shooting tests.
Oliver charges $100 for his CCW permit class and the Arizona Department of Public Safety has a $50 for the permit, which must be renewed every four years.
For more information about the class or other services of Oliver's Eagle Personal Protection, call (928) 476-2000.