With all the debate on firearms, and the impending legislation on firearms, people are increasingly concerned about firearm ownership and concealed carry.  As a police officer and a concealed firearms instructor, I have received a lot of questions about firearms and concealed carry law in Utah and Arizona.

Here are some of the basics that I will hope will help.

Utah currently requires a concealed carry permit if you are concealing a firearm on your person. The requirements and restrictions for concealed carry can be found at http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/concealedfirearms.html

Utah does not require a concealed carry permit if the person conceals the weapon on his person, or within its immediate use, if the person is on his property, at his residence, in his vehicle or another’s vehicle with the owner’s permission, or a business within his control.

People have often asked if Utah has open carry restrictions. Utah law says it is unlawful to carry a loaded firearm in public. The law goes on to clarify what a loaded firearm is. Citizens who can lawfully possess a firearm may legally carry it in public as long as it is “unloaded.”

Thirty four other states either recognize the Utah Concealed carry permit or have a formal reciprocity (written agreement) with Utah.  A list of these states can be found at http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/FAQother.html. To obtain a Utah permit, you must attend a class certified by the State of Utah

Citizens carrying concealed under a Utah permit are required to be familiar with the individual state’s laws in which they carry concealed.

Minors (under the age of 18) may not possess a firearm unless they are accompanied by a parent or have the parents’ permission to possess the firearm. Any minor under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult when in possession of a firearm.

Arizona made some major changes to its’ state laws a few years ago. You may get more information about Arizona firearms laws at http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Concealed_Weapons

Arizona law allows anyone over the age of 21 to lawfully carry a concealed firearm on their person or in a means of transportation as long as they are not a prohibited possessor of firearms and they are not doing so in the furtherance of a serious offense as defined in section 13-706, a violent crime as defined in section 13-901.03 or any other felony offense.

Arizona law requires anyone carrying concealed to accurately answer a law enforcement officer, if the officer asks whether the person is carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Arizona allows open carry of the firearm as long as any part of the firearm or its holster is visible.

Possession of a firearm in Arizona by a minor under 18 is unlawfull unless the minor is accompanied by his parent, grandparents or guardian. The minor may possess a firearm when accompanied by a hunter safety instructor of firearms safety instructor with the parents’ permission.

This does not apply to a person who is 14, 15, 16 or 17 years of age and engaged in lawful hunting or shooting events or marksmanship practice at established ranges or other areas where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited.

 Arizona does offer a concealed permit and it is recognized or has formal reciprocity with 35 other states. http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Concealed_Weapons/Reciprocity.

To obtain an Arizona permit, you must provide a certificate of proficiency with a firearm from any firearms safety or training course or class that is available to the general public, that is offered by a law enforcement agency, a junior college, a college or a private or public institution, academy, organization or firearms training school and that is approved by the department of public safety or that uses instructors who are certified by the National Rifle Association.

There are no Internet or electronic classes that meet the requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit in Utah or Arizona. Classes must be taught, in person, by a certified instructor.

As a firearms and concealed carry instructor, I encourage all persons who consider carrying or owning a firearm to know and understand the operation, limitations, malfunctions and maintenance of their firearms; to become proficient in the use of a firearm and maintain that proficiency; to know how to keep their firearm secure while on their person and secure from others not authorized to possess them.  I encourage them to know and understand the liabilities, limitations and tactics of concealed carry and to research and understand the laws and concepts of self defense and the defense of others when using deadly force.

Dan Watson is a Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy with over 35 years of law enforcement service. He is a certified law enforcement and NRA handgun, rifle and shotgun instructor & NRA range safety officer. Watson has taught concealed carry in both Utah and Arizona.