"I understand that good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations."

Illegal Possession of a Firearm in Arizona

by Aaron M. Black • October 03, 2022

Arizona punishes simple misbehavior and serious unlawful conduct through its firearm laws. These laws are not a violation of the second amendment.

Many of these violations fall upon people who were convicted of a felony and thereby forbidden to own or possess a firearm with the threat of prison if convicted. But under Arizona Revised Statute §13-3102 many other situations and places prevent some people from exercising the Second Amendment. In addition, the Phoenix.gov site has a .pdf summarizing Arizona Weapons and Firearms Laws.

Buying A Gun

Illegal firearms

These are any rifle that has a barrel shorter than 16 inches or a shotgun with a barrel length shorter than 18 inches, or any firearm that is made from a rifle or shotgun and that as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

Firearms that fire automatically, which means firing multiple projectiles with a single pull of the trigger are classified as illegal. Unless you have the required federal documentation to possess. 

Silencers that mute the sound of a firearm discharging. Unless you have the required federal documentation to possess.

These items do not include any firearms or devices that are possessed, manufactured or transferred in compliance with federal law.


The level of charges allowed by Arizona law

Illegal possession of a firearm can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the facts of the case and the history of the accused.

Misdemeanor range:

A Class 1 misdemeanor can be charged by failing to the answer truthfully when asked if the person is at this moment possessing a concealed weapon capable of causing death. Also, remaining in a public establishment with a concealed weapon after the proprietor asks to leave the weapon outside. And as we have seen in the news, children taking a deadly weapon on to school grounds.

A Class 3 misdemeanor is charged for possession by anyone younger than 21 for concealing a deadly weapon.

Felony range:

The law has four felonies for unlawful possession, Class 2, 3, 4, and 6. A class 6 felony is the lowest in the felony architecture.

Class 2 felony if possessing a deadly weapon to further an act of terrorism.

Class 3 felony is firing into an occupied structure to advance a street gang or a criminal syndicate, or selling weapons to promote a street gang or crime syndicate. Providing someone with a deadly weapon knowing that it will be used in a felony crime.

Class 4 is used for manufacturing, possession, transporting, selling, or transferring a prohibited weapon.

A Class 6 felony covers providing a deadly weapon to someone who is prohibited to possess a deadly weapon that is "defaced," such as grinding off the serial number, possessing the weapon a school grounds while possessing or selling illicit drugs or hiring or attempting to do so, or possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds or engaging a minor to commit certain felonies.

Illegal firearm sentences if convicted

Arizona's sentencing guidelines are divided into mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum and aggravated ranges, each with more harsh prison sentences and long terms of probation after incarceration ends.

For first-time non-dangerous felony, that is without a weapon allegation, these are the sentences allowed by Arizona law if convicted:

Those who are convicted of a Class 2 felony face three years with mitigating factors, or the minimum of four years and a maximum of 10 years. An aggregated factor raises the prison sentence to 12.5 years.

A Class 3 felony carries a mitigated term of two years, or a minimum of four years, a maximum of 10 years and the aggravated range is 8.75 years.

A Class 4 felony punishment is one year for mitigated factors, or a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 3.75 years. An aggravated allegation boosts the sentence to 3.75 years.

A Class 5 felony is a mitigated term of six months, or a minimum of .75 years and a maximum of two years. An aggravated charge increases the sentence to 2.5 years.

The Class 6 felony is .33 years for mitigated, or a minimum of six months and a maximum of 1.5 years in prison.

Court ordered terms of probation are seven years for a Class 2 felony, five years for the Class 3 felony, four years both Class 4 and Class 5, and Class 6 probation will last for three years.

In addition to a prison sentence, the state also can levy fines and surcharges in four figures.

Life changing impacts for a felony conviction

A felony conviction remains on the public record for 99 years for potential employers, landlords or anyone to see.

Convicted felons after serving time in prison do not have the right to buy, own or possess a firearm. If that is violated the defendant is returned to prison. Felons cannot vote in elections, serve on a jury or join the military. Landlords can refuse to rent felons an apartment in order to protect their tenants.

Financially, employers will see the felony conviction on background checks and can refuse to offer employment. Felons who hold professional licenses, such as accountants, money managers, real estate agents, teachers, commercial drivers, and many other professions, will have their licenses revoked ending a once promising career.

A felony conviction can prevent the felon on probation from getting food stamps or social security benefits.


Illegal firearm possession defenses

The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to earn a conviction and that is a high bar to achieve. Every case has its own set of circumstances that may determine the best defense.

The common defenses are the arresting officer violated your constitutional rights, the procedures used in their investigation violated your rights, and the state must prove you "knowingly" possessed the firearm. These defenses will work to have the state's evidence suppressed and win an acquittal. It may also be possible to have the charge reduced to a less serious offense.

Aaron M. Black Law for Illegal Firearm Possession

Should you or someone you know be charged or are under investigation for illegally possessing a firearm it is imperative that you have a seasoned criminal defense attorney such as myself to defend you. In my long career as an aggressive criminal defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble and that is why I ensure they will have the best defense possible.

I will scrutinize the state's evidence and the personnel records of the investigators involved looking for inconsistencies and errors. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to your case.

At Aaron M. Black Law, you will receive personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your case.

Begin your illegal firearm possession defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time, on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend criminal cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.


About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes and white-collar crime.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

Available by phone, text and/or email

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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