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The right to bear arms is enshrined in the United States Constitution. However, the law also recognizes that certain individuals should not have access to firearms due to potential risks to society or themselves. Each state has its own set of laws that dictate who can and cannot possess a firearm. In Arizona, certain individuals are deemed “prohibited possessors.” This article will delve into the criteria that make someone a prohibited possessor under Arizona law.
1. Convicted Felons
One of the most common reasons someone becomes a prohibited possessor is due to a felony conviction. Arizona law generally prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a felony from owning or possessing a firearm. However, rights can be restored under certain conditions, such as:
- The completion of probation or the receipt of an absolute discharge from imprisonment.
All fines associated with the conviction have been paid.
A certain period has passed since the completion of the sentence, which varies depending on the nature of the felony.
The individual successfully petitions the court to have their firearm rights restored.
2. Individuals with Mental Illness
Arizona law prohibits the possession of firearms by those who have been found to be a danger to themselves or to others due to a mental illness, or those who have been convicted as “Guilty Except Insane” for a crime.
3. Probation, Parole, or Community Supervision
Individuals currently serving a term of probation, parole, community supervision, or any other form of court-ordered supervision are prohibited from possessing a firearm.
4. Restraining or Protective Orders
Persons who are subjects of an active restraining order, order of protection, or an injunction against harassment (that specifically prohibits the possession of firearms) are deemed prohibited possessors. This typically includes situations involving domestic violence or harassment.
5. Undocumented Immigrants
In alignment with federal law, Arizona prohibits undocumented immigrants from possessing firearms.
6. Persons Adjudicated as Delinquent for a Felony Offense
This applies to individuals who were under the age of 18 when they committed a felony offense. Even though they might have been adjudicated as a juvenile, they are still restricted from possessing firearms until their rights are restored.
7. Individuals Convicted of Domestic Violence
Those convicted of specific misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, where the victim was a current or former partner, family member, or cohabitant, may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.
While the Second Amendment ensures the right to bear arms, there are necessary restrictions in place to maintain public safety. It’s crucial for Arizonans to be aware of these restrictions to ensure they are in compliance with the law. Anyone with doubts about their status or eligibility to own or possess a firearm should consult legal counsel to clarify their position under Arizona law.