Catalina, AZ –-( The 2011 Legislative session started on January 10th and ended on April 20th. With pro-rights majorities in both chambers and a Governor that signed Constitutional Carry into law in 2010, the passage of pro-rights legislation looked encouraging.

Four bills, three in the House and one in the Senate, were filed early that dealt positively with some form of Campus Carry.

However, after an assassination attempt on Congresswoman Giffords at a political gathering in Tucson on January 8th, some alleged “pro-rights” state legislators revealed that they were willing to take any position on any issue for the sake of appearances and political correctness.

The leadership in the House of Representatives, under the direction of the Speaker, Kirk Adams, halted the progress of almost all House initiated firearms bills, including the three Campus Carry bills introduced at the beginning of the session. The majority of the pro-rights bills that were passed this session were initiated in the Senate. Despite the resistance encountered in the House, eight bills that AzCDL requested and/or supported made it through the legislature and to the Governor’s desk.

However even the Governor succumbed to the wave of political correctness that washed over the Capitol. She vetoed the remaining, Senate initiated, Campus Carry bill along with an AzCDL-requested bill that would have made it safer for law-abiding citizens entering government offices.

However, when the session ended, we still experienced a net gain in the restoration and protection of your Right to Bear Arms in Arizona. The following is a summary of the new laws that became effective on July 20, 2011.

Justification of the Use of Force
The elements of justification for the use of force were broadened and strengthened in certain situations. Highlights of the new law include:

  • Removal, as an element for justification in defense of another, of whether a reasonable person would believe that their intervention is immediately necessary .
  • Redefining “acting reasonably” as it applies to crime prevention, as acting to prevent what one would reasonably believe is the imminent or actual commission of an offense.
  • Redefining the presumption for the defense of a home or occupied vehicle to encompass a situation in which a person reasonably believes that the threat or use of deadly force is immediately necessary.
  • Establishing a presumption that a person who is unlawfully or forcefully entering your occupied home or occupied vehicle is posing an imminent threat.

Certain exceptions
An AzCDL-requested proposed Constitutional Amendment that would protect crime victims from law suits by those who harmed them, passed out of the Legislature on April 14th and was sent to the Secretary of State where it will be placed on the 2012 ballot.

Currently, Article 2, Section 31 of the Arizona State Constitution prohibits any law from limiting the amount of damages that can be recovered for causing the death or injury of someone. Article 18, Section 6 mandates that the right of action to recover damages for injuries cannot be stopped and the amount recovered cannot be limited.

The Legislature attempted to protect crime victims from being sued via legislative means (ARS 12-716) but the courts determined portions of the law to be in violation of the state Constitution. The only remedy is a Constitutional Amendment.

CCW Training Reform The burden on the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to approve CCW training courses, training organizations, and instructors has been removed. In a nutshell, Arizona law now mirrors Florida¡¦s when it comes to qualifying for a CCW permit.

With the new changes to ARS 13-3112, ways to qualify for an Arizona CCW permit include:

  • Completion of courses, offered by a law enforcement agency, college, or a private or public institution, academy, organization or firearms training school that uses NRA instructors or is approved by DPS.
  • Completion of hunter education courses approved by Arizona Game and Fish or a similar agency of another state.
  • Completion of an NRA firearms safety or training course.
  • Completion of law enforcement or security guard training approved by DPS.
  • Proof of current military service or an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions. „hƒn A valid current or expired CCW permit issued by another state that has a training or testing requirement for initial issuance.
  • Completion of any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualification to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties.
  • Completion of any other firearms safety or training course that is conducted by an NRA instructor or approved by DPS.

Restoration of Rights
ARS 12-2101 has been amended to allow a person, who has been deemed to be a prohibited possessor because of mental illness, to petition to have their rights restored via court proceedings.

Right to Carry
ARS 17-305, which prohibited the carrying of firearms in games refuges, has been repealed.

Hunting Preemption
ARS 13-3107 and 3108 have been amended to prohibit political subdivisions (counties, cities, etc.) from enacting any ordinance or regulation limiting the lawful taking of wildlife during an open season unless the ordinance, rule or regulation is consistent with the state’s hunting laws and Game and Fish Commission rules and orders.

State Firearm
With the addition of ARS 41-860.02, the Colt Single Action Army Revolver is the official state firearm of Arizona.

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