Can You Legally Shoot Trespassers in Arizona?
Trespassing is generally considered to be entering someone's property without permission. When is it legal to defend your family, your property, and your life when someone enters without your permission?
When is it Legal to Defend Your Property?
Knowing the laws in Arizona could save you time and trouble if you're ever in a situation where you have to defend your property. Just owning a gun and being legally permitted to use it are not enough.
There are good ways to ensure you have an understanding of the consequences, should you ever have to defend your decision to use lethal force.
Concealed and Open Carry in Arizona
To start with, it's always a good idea to get training, in order to understand how and when to use a firearm.
You must legally be permitted to buy a gun, no matter who you are. Some of the requirements are age, of course, but you also have to pass a background check in order to purchase one. The background check covers mental and criminal history, and you have to be a legal Arizona and United States resident.
While Arizona law doesn't require a permit to open carry, you have to be at least eighteen years old, and in order to concealed carry, you must be at least 21 years old.
Of course, there are location restrictions for carrying a gun. For example, you're not allowed to bring a gun into places like schools, and you probably know that government buildings are off-limits. Also, you're not allowed to bring your gun into any establishment where it's posted.
So, Is It Legal to Use Deadly Force Against a Trespasser?
Arizona's self-defense laws include a “stand your ground” law. Basically, individuals are legally allowed to protect themselves and their property against threats. But there are subtle caveats you should know about if you're ever faced with this situation.
First, you're not allowed to shoot anyone just because they come onto your property uninvited. The use of lethal force against someone merely for trespassing may not be legally justifiable.
ChelleLaw.com says, "The law permits the use of force only when there is a reasonable belief of imminent physical harm or a serious threat to one’s life or property.
This law in Arizona has many layers, and it's important to understand them before you resort to any form of self-defense.
The Arizona Castle Law
Have you heard of the “Castle Doctrine”? According to ChelleLaw.com, Arizona follows this law, and it allows, "individuals to use force, including deadly force, to protect themselves, their family, and their property from an intruder.
However, the use of force must be reasonable and proportional to the threat faced. The Castle Doctrine can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-405."
Training is Key to Understanding the Law
Basically, no. You're not allowed to shoot someone simply because they trespass on your property. But there are situations where you're legally allowed to defend your life and your property.
If you're planning to purchase a firearm, or if you already own one, consider taking a training course, like a concealed carry (CCW) course. Not only do these courses help educate students on the law, but they also highlight the repercussions of using deadly force.
And even though Arizona doesn't currently require you to have a permit to conceal carry, our state laws change all the time.
Also, there are other states who have reciprocity agreements with Arizona permit holders, so if you're planning to take your firearm out of state, it's good to know where you can legally bring your gun.
For more information on gun laws in Arizona, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety.