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Too many "No Guns" signs in AZ

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Jake L, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    No, the way the law is set up is as a trespass statute. All that bit means is that business owners may prohibit firearms and you can't argue if they ask you to leave. I.e., it's not a civilly protected right. Anyone who has taken the course knows how it works. This is specifically covered.

    Here's the complete procedure you have to follow to get your stupid self arrested (and I say "stupid self" because you'd have to be seriously stupid for it to happen):

    1. Someone notices you're carrying. Asks you to leave.
    2. You refuse.
    3. Person calls police.
    4. Police ask you to leave.
    5. You refuse.
    6. Police arrest you for trespassing.

    The police have to witness you trespassing, and witness the person asking you to leave in order to arrest you. Otherwise it's hearsay. The signs alone do not carry the weight of a "No trespassing" sign or mean police can arrest you just for carrying in a posted premises. They have to actually ask you to leave in order for it to have any teeth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  2. sonick808

    sonick808 Member

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    i'm in Chandler (east Phoenix metro) and I very rarely see these signs. 10% or less
     
  3. SullyVols

    SullyVols Member

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    I'm all pro-firearm. But if someone wants you off of their private property for whatever reason they should have that right.
     
  4. Jake L

    Jake L Member

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    I spend my time in Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert mostly. I see most of the signs in restaurants which serve alcohol. I am quite curious about the consensus on what the rules are governing carrying into posted locations.

    Warden Wolf (not arguing), you say "Arizona signs do NOT have force of law. They are a statement of policy. The only way to get in trouble is if they see your gun, ask you to leave, and you do not." If that is the case, then why on handgunlaw.us (not a perfectly accurate site, but pretty dang reliable) does it say for Arizona "Do 'No Gun Signs' Have the Force of Law? -- YES". If you look at Washington state, it says "Do 'No Gun Signs' Have the Force of Law? -- NO." It then explains pretty much what you did, that if asked to leave you must.

    Is there any other reliable source for me to go to that can explain this legalese? Basically I'd like to know: If I carry into locations posted "No Guns", and somehow get caught, could I face legal consequences? Or can I simply be polite and comply when they ask me to leave and I'm legally clean?
     
  5. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    You are absolutely wrong. This is terrible advice if you live in AZ. No gun signs DO have force of law. A no gun sign is your notice that carrying is trespassing. You can get arrested for trespassing and misconduct involving a firearm if caught carrying on the premises of an establishment that has a no gun sign. They do not have to ask you to leave first if the sign was posted in a reasonable location and easily visible.

    Most places will ask you to leave first, since it's a hassle for them to have to call the police, but they are under no obligation to do this.

    How do I know this, you might ask?

    I've spoken to my lawyer about it.
    I've asked several cops about it.
    My CCW instructor told the class (former local police officer - medically released, current contracted security of a location that has a no gun policy...he knows how the law works in this case).
    My defensive handgun instructor told the class (current contracted firearm instructor for local PD, and current parole officer, if I remember right).
    And lastly, and most importantly, that's what the law says!

    Case law has determined a sign is deemed a reasonable request. Therefore, by passing the threshold of an establishment that has a posted no gun sign, with a gun on you, you are already trespassing, and can be arrested for it (and misconduct involving a firearm) without any kind of notice.

    This is how it actually works:

    1. Employee/property owner/etc notice you carrying
    2. They call the police
    3. Police arrest you for trespassing and misconduct involving a firearm.

    You don't have to believe me, but you do it at your own risk. To the OP, go find a few cops and ask them. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer (you have one, right?) about it. Talk to instructors in your area about it. I highly doubt you'll see anything that contradicts what I'm saying here.

    I live near Tucson. I'd say most places, even in Tucson, do not have posted signs. The few that I do find, I just don't give them my business.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  6. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    ^ Welcome to THR, and thank you for that post. Very informative. I held back from commenting on the legality of signage in AZ, but my own review of the handgunlaw.us PDF caused me to reach the same conclusions.
     
  7. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Gaerek, please look up to my post, and back to azleg.gov, and read THE REST OF THE STORY. Oh, never mind, I'll repost it here.
    In English, a place run by the government, NOT a private enterprise such as grocery store or used car lot. The only businesses specifically named as off limits are those serving open alcohol who have a proper sign posted.

    I grew up in Tucson, feel I might know the town pretty well. Also know TPD officers - most of them don't know the law. :) I HIGHLY recommend that you do not carry in any place that has a no-guns sign, as if you get into a defensive shooting in the place a good lawyer will rape you for "looking for a fight where you aren't even allowed to carry your gun!" and such. I, of course, am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV - I have the dubious distinction of being thrown out of several businesses for open carry back in the days before we had CCW. Oddly enough, every single business that threw me out is out of business.
    If you get an official legal opinion signed by a lawyer, please post it here.
     
  8. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    Thanks for the welcome. I'll post a proper intro in a moment. I just saw this last night and wanted to keep the OP from getting in trouble. :)

    EDIT: Replying to the person who replied to me while I was replying. :)

    You don't have to take my word for it. If you don't think that's the law, I encourage you to find out first hand for us. GO ahead, carry into a place with a posted sign (and I'm not talking about the bar/restaraunt sign) and see what happens. Very likely, they will ask you to leave, but they are under no obligation to do so.

    Again, I haven't just talked to cops about it. My lawyer had to try to defend someone who concealed at a local mall with a posted sign, and was arrested without being asked to leave first...she lost the case. Why? Because a posted sign is considered a reasonable request. Sorry, I'm not going to pay $300 or whatever it would cost, to get a signed written opinion from her on that law. I asked about that law during my initial consultation, and that's what she told me. My CCW instructor watched someone get arrested without notice while he was working (he always notifies, some of his co-workers do not). Let's also not forget what the back of the permit says.

    If you wish to disobey the no guns sign you just walked past, it's at your own risk.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  9. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    Just wanted add another thing. I didn't just speak with TPD. I spoke with a couple of Pima County Sheriff's Deputies, as well as a DPS Officer. I've had the same problems finding answers to what a no gun sign means in Arizona...so I've asked basically everyone who would have knowledge who I've run into about it. I have yet to find someone who has contradicted what I said. Though, one of the Pima County Deputies did say that it used to be different, but there was a case several years ago that changed the definition of "reasonable request." It was 6 or 7 months ago that I talked to him about it, so I don't remember exactly what he said. I've seen him several times since, so if I run into him again, I'll ask.

    Again, do what you want, but do it at your own risk. Regardless of how the law actually works, I'd rather not give money to places that don't respect my right to self defense.
     
  10. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Funny, Gaerek, that is NOT what my CCW instructor said. Nor is it what anyone else I have spoken to has said. I'm only hearing that coming from YOU and you alone. I have taken the class within the last 5 years. That is NOT how things work in Arizona. A reasonable request to leave MUST be made before it can be considered trespass. Please stop spreading fear and uncertainty. The signs hold NO force of law on their own. All that little snippet in the law means is that business owners can lawfully say you cannot carry a firearm on their property; they are not forced to allow it. But it is still a trespass ordinance and they still must ask you to leave.

    I am someone who makes it a point to know the fine points of this kind of law inside and out. You cannot be arrested simply for carrying in a posted business, nor is it "misconduct involving a firearm". It is simple trespass, and they must ask you to leave.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  11. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    Good thing you don't live in AZ anymore then. I can only comment on what I know and have been told. I've been told by about 10 different authorities on the matter (including a lawyer who lost a case on the issue). Plus, handgunlaw.us agrees with me, and that site is probably the best online source of gun laws available (though even they say their info is not law and to seek a lawyer for legal advice).

    OP, disobey posted signs at your own risk. I'd recommend getting you legal advice from a lawyer who knows the law. Random people on the Internet, like myself and Warden cannot give legal advice, and personally, if I were you, I'd take both sides with a grain of salt. In the end, either way, why would you want to patronize a business who thinks you have no right to self defense? I certainly don't care to.
     
  12. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Wow, I think I said I already did, years ago. The last thing you said that MIGHT change things is this snippet,
    THAT could be the difference, as I have managed to keep from being thrown out of places since I put on my badge, and we got CCW here in 1994, which also made a difference. :) I will reiterate what I did say, I don't recommend it, and if precedent has been set legally, then you're fighting an uphill battle, but I haven't seen this brought up in any other classes.
     
  13. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    Unfortunately, the Internet is sketchy when it comes to hard evidence. To be honest, I would love to be proven wrong. But for me, the potential cost (jail time, fine, loss of gun ownership rights, etc) simply isn't worth the risk. I don't have enough money to fight a charge like that and try to get the precedent changed.

    Let me quote what the Arizona Gun Owners Guide (a book I highly recommend the OP get, I've read the whole thing three times now) says about this issue. It doesn't go into a whole lot of detail, unfortunately, but what it does say seems to jive with what I've been saying. After posting this, I think I may attempt to email the author of the book, and ask what it really means, and how he came to that conclusion:

    I added "no gun" between private and signs for clarification, since it was referring to the Bold Faced title of the section of the book, and the bold face is mine. Italics are in the original quote. It appears that, at least the author believes, there is no need to ask you to leave, or request that you remove your firearm if you decide to ignore the sign. I don't know what more evidence is needed. I'll try emailing the author after this and see if I can get a response. I'll post if I do.

    I love Arizona, but I've found that a lot of laws are very vague in how they're written. Bottom line though, I would love to be wrong about this, but I also don't want the OP to get in trouble because of advice on this thread.

    EDIT: I just sent an email to Alan Korwin, the author of The Arizona Gun Owners Guide. Google him, and you'll see he probably knows more about this subject than almost anyone. Hopefully I'll get a response relatively quickly. As soon as I do (if he chooses to respond, that is) I will post it here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  14. Jake L

    Jake L Member

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    Gaerek, Armoredman, and Wardenwolf, thanks for your thorough replies. It seems like Gaerek and Armoredman are essentially in consensus that the posted signs have legal force and must be obeyed to keep oneself legally safe. Wardenwolf, I agree with you that many individuals I have spoken with say the law works precisely as you described. Yet when I actually read the literature, it seems to contradict directly what you and they say. The laws surrounding CC and 'no guns' signs did change in many ways in 2009. So perhaps that has something to do with all of the misconceptions we're trying to clear up here.

    Until I can hear more about it from several "horses' mouths", I wont ignore the no guns signs (I have no time or ability to deal with any legal BS).

    But just to add my $.02 to the thread, my best guess as to the letter of the law is that places serving alcohol seem to have a special status as far as CC goes. These places can post 'no guns' signs that have the absolute force of law without additional warnings required. Other places with 'no guns' signs (very rare) might not have the same force of law with their 'no guns' signs... Until I'm sure, I'll just have to disarm if I really want to patronize a 'no guns' business.
     
  15. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    This is absolutely true. Regardless of who is right about private no gun signs, you must obey the ones in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. In addition, there is NO Constitutional carry in those locations whether they have a sign or not. You must have a permit.

    I'd recommend getting the book I mentioned above. It has all the pertinent laws for AZ (and some Federal) as well as plain English explanations of them. You'll be surprised about how much you don't know...just as I was. :)
     
  16. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Too much huffing and puffing and not enough actual citation to law.

    I notice that no one has cited the actual Arizona criminal trespass statute, ARS 13-1502 (emphasis added):

    Notice that it is criminal trespass in Arizona not only when one stays after being asked to leave. It is also criminal trespass to enter if one is on notice that entry is prohibited.

    The question therefore becomes whether a "no guns" sign on private property is reasonable notice prohibiting entry by one carrying a gun. If an Arizona court would say, or has said, that it is, a "no guns" sign indeed has the force of law.

    Certainly on the face of things it looks like a "no gun" sign could well be considered reasonable notice that entry to the premises with a gun is prohibited.

    WardenWolf, if you still contend that a "no guns" sign doesn't have the force of law in Arizona, cite an Arizona court decision so ruling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  17. Gaerek

    Gaerek Member

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    Thank you Frank. Even through all of that, I hadn't even thought to look at the Criminal Trespass statute. I was looking for an answer in the "gun" statutes. I'll still await the email from Alan Korwin, just to see what he says about it, but I have a feeling he's going to site that law.
     
  18. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    Odd, the Chipotle down the street from my apartment has a gun sign. Thankfully it only says something like 'no illegal firearms'.
     
  19. RJTravel

    RJTravel Member

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    Thanks to Frank for clearing up this incredible pooling of ignorance. The statute is written so clearly that the common person cannot misunderstand.
     
  20. Brockak47

    Brockak47 Member

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    Here in the Prescott Area and northern AZ in general I don't see many "no guns" signs on businesses

    maybe in Awahtukee or something :p
     
  21. bikerbill

    bikerbill Member

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    baz is correct about Texas ... there are businesses that post a no-guns-allowed sign, but the only way they can enforce it is to a. somehow spot your concealed weapon and b. ask you to leave. Refusing to leave can get you cited for trespassing, but with no impact on your license ... I've carried in Texas for 10 years, have seen only a small handful of the 30.06 signs and they were in places I didn't plan to go anyhow ... now if we could only get open carry here ... you do see signs all over the place warning that the unlicensed carry of firearms in the establishment is illegal, but of course that's illegal everywhere in TX except on your own property ...
     
  22. Match10

    Match10 Member

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    Signs carry no weight in Georgia. You must be contacted by a person in charge of the business or property and asked to leave.
     
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    The OP's question was about Arizona. Let's stay focused. Other States are off-topic.
     
  24. Jake L

    Jake L Member

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    I'll definitely pick up a copy of Alan Korwin's book. It looks great.

    Also, I've been noticing something new. Apparently, the "No Guns" signs are required to fit a very particular format to have legal force. Several of the signs I've been seeing lately aren't even close to that format. Therefore, they are ones I can feel pretty safe ignoring unless specifically notified. One small step for man...
     
  25. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Looks again. I think you'll notice that the particular format sign is found at bar or restaurants -- places that serve alcohol.

    See Arizona Revised Statutes 4-229 (emphasis added):

    However, the statute defining criminal trespass in general (ARS 13-1502 as I've quoted in post 42) doesn't specify what sort of sign or other form of notice would be:
    That would ultimately be a question for a court if one were to dispute whether a particular sign or other form of notice satisfied the statute.
     
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