No Firearms signs in AZ almost always hold force of law. It just depends on where it is and other certain circumstances to determine what law it may or may not be breaking.
Typically, the law specifies certain places as off limits, even if we have a permit. They are generally described here:
Places We Cannot Carry our Firearms Even with Permits
- Any Private Property Where Posted to Prohibit ARS 13-1502
- Government Buildings or Government Sponsored Events where posted, or when requested to leave. ARS 13-3102(A)(10)
- Businesses Serving Alcohol for Consumption on Premises who have posted signs in compliance with ARS 4-229.
- Polling Places on Election Day ARS 13-3102(A)(11)
- School Grounds (with some exceptions) ARS 13-3102(A)(12) ARS 13-3102(I)
- Commercial Nuclear or Hydroelectric Generating Stations ARS 13-3102(13)
- Military Installations 18 U.S. Code § 930
- Indian Reservations (Sovereign Nations, with their own laws)
- Jails & Correctional Facilities ARS 31-129
- Federal Buildings 18 U.S. Code § 930
- Airports (In or Beyond Security Checkpoint) ARS 13 -3119
Tribal Law only applies to those who live on the Reservation, tribal laws don’t protect non-members of the tribe. Handgunlaw.us recommends before carrying on any Reservation that you actually talk to those in charge and preferably get something in writing that your permit/license is valid on their reservation. (1)
National Parks and Game Preserves are allowed, federal building rules still apply, some exceptions are stand alone public restroom facilities, thanks to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which was approved by Congress and President Barack Obama. It took effect Feb. 22, 2010. (2)
ARS 13-3118 and ARS 13-3108 prohibit local towns, municipalities, and cities from banning the carry or possession of firearms in public parks. Though they can prohibit the discharge of firearms.
ARS 13-3102.01 requires public establishments and public events (which are defined as government owned and operated) to have secure firearms storage available on site. However, there is no described penalty for non-compliance so this requirement is weak and mostly moot. Feel free to report any local government buildings who fail to meet this standard to the Attorney General’s office.
With the exception of places listed in the Arizona Revised Statutes and Federal law, “no firearms” signs posted on private property are governed under trespassing laws. And yes, its their right as private property owners to determine the rules on their property.
Attorney Marc Victor of Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm here in Arizona reaffirms this fact in his video.
Arizona DPS addresses the question on their FAQ page:
“I entered a private business with my concealed handgun and CCW permit. The business did not have any signs posted prohibiting weapons. Shortly thereafter, an employee approached me and said they do not allow firearms in their business and I must take the gun off the premises. Can they do that?
Yes. Arizona law permits private business owners (or their designates) to prohibit weapons from being brought onto their property, whether signs are posted or not. Private businesses are typically non-government operated businesses such as grocery and department stores, convenience stores, laundromats, banks, office complexes, etc. Failure to obey the request can result in your arrest for trespassing. (ARS 13-1502 / ARS 13-1503)” (3)
For your convenience the Trespassing Statute that applies is written below:
“A. A person commits criminal trespass in the third degree by:(ARS 13-1502)
1. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by a law enforcement officer, the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry. …
C. Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class 3 misdemeanor.”
Now, a “reasonable notice prohibiting entry” can most definitely be a sign saying you are not allowed to carry a firearm there. (4) This is the same as the no shoes-no shirt-no service, or no skate boarding, or no trespassing. A sign saying, “No Weapons” or “No Firearms” quite literally translates to ‘You may not be on our property with a firearm’. Thus, by carrying a firearm on said property a person would be trespassing. Now, besides potentially committing a misdemeanor of trespassing, or misconduct with a firearm, a liquor violation, or a combination of the aforementioned crimes, this has the potential to affect the legal use of force as well.
In ARS 13-405 it states:
“B. A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.”(ARS 13-405)
If one were to decide, for whatever reason they chose, to ignore a no gun sign, they would essentially be trespassing; Which, besides being an “Unlawful Act”, would also imply they are ‘not in a place they may legally be’. This doesn’t mean they couldn’t defend themselves, it simply means they potentially now have the duty to retreat first, before attempting to use lethal force.
So, now you know the law, please make your own decisions wisely.
(1) Handgunlaw.us (2020, April 11) Tribal Law and Concealed Carry, Retrieved July 19, 2020 from https://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/tribal_law_ccw.pdf
(2) National Parks Service. (2010) A Quick Guide to Gun Regulations in the Intermountain Region, Retrieved August 21, 2016, from National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/upload/Firearms-in-IMRparks2-2010.pdf
(3) Arizona Department of Public Safety. (n.d.). Questions and Answers – Concealed Weapons and Permits. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from Arizona Department of Public Safety: http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Concealed_Weapons/Questions/
(4) Anthony, M. P. (2010). Legal Issues Relating to the Use of Deadly Force (14 ed.). AZDPS.
**This is provided as a Legal Information Resource and should not be treated as legal advice.