Arizona Citizens Defense League ®

Protecting Your Freedom

If you want to protect your Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Arizona, then you want to join the Arizona Citizens Defense League ® (AzCDL)

Overview of AzCDL’s Accomplishments

AzCDL is the only Arizona civil liberties organization to get pro-rights bills introduced in every Legislative session we have been involved in!

AzCDL was instrumental in the introduction and/or passage of the legislation listed below.

Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms

  • Constitutional Carry – Restoration of the right of law-abiding adults to carry openly or discreetly without first seeking written permission from the government via a “permit .”
  • Prohibiting state and local government officials from confiscating lawfully held firearms during a state of emergency.
  • Strengthened state preemption of firearm and knife laws.
  • Strengthened protection of the lawful use of firearms, air gun and archery equipment on private lands.
  • Requiring state and local government buildings or events that prohibit weapons to provide temporary and secure storage that is readily accessible on entry and permits immediate retrieval upon exit.
  • Prohibiting the courts from ordering the forfeiture of a firearm when a person is convicted of carrying in a state or local building where weapons are banned.
  • Prohibiting political subdivisions (counties, cities, towns, etc.) from requiring or maintaining de facto registration records of firearms, or their owners, related to the temporary storage process
  • Prohibiting state and local governments from maintaining identifying information of a person who owns, possesses, purchases, sells or transfers a firearm, except in the course of a law enforcement investigation.
  • Preventing private or public employers, property owners, and others from banning firearms in a locked vehicle.
  • Prohibiting firearms seized, abandoned or surrendered from being scrapped.  They must be sold to authorized dealers.
  • Repealing the prohibition on carrying a firearm in a game refuge.
  • Allow possession of otherwise “prohibited” weapon (i.e., for self-defense) while hunting.
  • Expanding the places where a weapon can be carried without a CCW permit in a vehicle to include a “map pocket.” (superseded by Constitutional Carry law).
  • Prohibiting unlawfully requiring a person to use or subject themselves to “electronic firearms tracking technology,” a component of “smart gun” technology that limits the operation of a firearm as well as tracking its location and logging its use.
  • Prohibiting state and local governments from requiring the search of any federal or state databases as a requirement for transferring personal property, such as your firearm.
  • Clarifying that state and local governments cannot regulate the possession of weapons by employees or contractors in or on their privately owned property or vehicles.
  • Bankruptcy exemption for personal firearms.
  • Repeal of decades old ban on the possession of nunchakus.


  • Passage of the Crime Victims Protection Act of 2012, that amends the Arizona Constitution to protect victims from being sued by their attackers.
  • Restoration (in 2006) of “innocent until proven guilty” in self-defense situations that was taken away in 1997.
  • Strengthening the elements of justification for the use of force.
  • Castle Doctrine strengthened.
  • Clarification that a person has no duty to retreat in any place they have a right to be.
  • Establishment of a justification for the defensive display of a firearm.
  • Adding the presumption, in certain civil actions, that a victim acted reasonably when using physical or deadly force.

Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permits

Article 2, Section 26 of the 1912 Arizona Constitution states that your right to bear arms “shall not be impaired.”  In 1990, a state appellate court ruled (Dano v. Collins) that is was not an “impairment” to restrict concealed (discreet) carry.

In 1994, the Arizona legislature, instead of simply affirming your right to carry openly or discreetly, decided that if you expected your clothing to cover your firearm, you were required to undergo 16 hours of training, followed by a written and shooting test, in order to request the privilege to carry discreetly, but only for 4 years.  After that, you were required to attend another 8 hours of training, pass another test, and submit another set of fingerprints.  The process had to be repeated every 4 years.

CCW permit training could only be obtained from instructors approved by the Department of Public Safety who, via administrative rulings, declared that training had an expiration date and could only be conducted in Arizona.

Keep in mind that in Arizona, no permit is required for  open carry, which is Constitutionally protected, and does not require training, testing, fingerprinting or applications.

Since AzCDL was formed in 2005, we have steadily worked to improve your ability to obtain and keep a CCW permit, ultimately leading to the passage of Constitutional Carry, making the CCW permit optional for discreet carry.  The following are highlights of our achievements:

  • Lengthening the permit period from 4 years to 5 years.
  • Reduction of the initial 16 hour training requirement to 8 hours.
  • Elimination of the fingerprint and training requirements for CCW permit renewals.
  • Expansion of training experiences that qualify for a CCW permit.
  • Expanding permit eligibility to 19 and 20 year olds with military service.
  • Universal recognition, by Arizona, of concealed weapon/handgun permits held by residents of other states.
  • Preventing law enforcement from confiscating a firearm from someone with a suspended permit if it is otherwise lawfully possessed.
  • Reduction of the penalty for not having your CCW permit in your possession, when required,  from a Class 2 Misdemeanor to a Petty Offense.
  • Passage of Constitutional Carry in 2010, making the permit optional for carrying discreetly in Arizona.


  • Allow possession of otherwise “prohibited” weapon (i.e., for self-defense) while hunting.
  • Expansion of the definition of Hunter Harassment.
  • Use of sound suppressors allowed when hunting.
  • Magazine capacity cannot be limited by Game and Fish Commission.
  • Active duty military personnel stationed in Arizona may obtain hunting permits.
  • Hunter Harassment added to the list of crimes that can suspend or revoke a hunting license.
  • Restrictions removed on type of firearm a wildlife guide may carry,

AzCDL is self-funded and fiercely independent.

We are not beholden to any national organizations or political parties.  No outsiders, no sugar daddies, no corporate string pullers, and no New York billionaires.  We are funded by your donations.

How much is “Protecting Your Freedom” worth?

The Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) and was founded by a group of local activists who recognized that a sustained, coordinated, statewide effort was critical to restoring and protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.