It is a federal law, not just a state law, that prohibits individuals who are convicted of felony crimes from owning guns. The right to bear arms is one of multiple civil rights that a convicted felon loses in Arizona, as well as the right to vote and travel to certain countries. However, you may be able to restore your right to own a gun in Arizona by having your record expunged or set aside.

Gun Ownership Laws in Arizona

Felons automatically become “prohibited possessors” of firearms under federal law. Anyone who is convicted, or found guilty, of a felony of any classification or type loses the right to gun ownership. This includes someone living in Arizona who was convicted of a felony crime in another state.

Federal law bans all convicted felons (and those indicted on felony charges) from purchasing, acquiring, possessing and distributing any type of firearm in all 50 states. It is also against the law for convicted felons to purchase or possess ammunition for firearms.

If a felon is found in possession of a firearm, even if it is not his or her gun, it can result in a class 4 felony charge under Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-3102. The penalty for a conviction can include a prison sentence of up to four and a half years.

Is it Possible to Restore the Right to Bear Arms as a Convicted Felon in Arizona?

Yes, certain eligible individuals can restore their gun ownership rights after being convicted of a felony in Arizona. This can be accomplished by having the felony conviction set aside, vacated or expunged.

Set Aside

A set aside is a legal process in which a court in Arizona makes a note on the convicted person’s criminal record stating that he or she has completed all of the sentencing terms and that the judgment of guilt has been set aside. The record will still exist and can be accessed by the public, however.


A vacated felony means that the court has pronounced a felony charge void or canceled. This may occur at the preliminary hearing stage or after a legal judgment has already been made. Either way, it will overturn or reverse the judgment, meaning it will no longer exist.


Record expungement effectively seals or erases a criminal record from public view. It prevents anyone except certain government officials, such as law enforcement officers and the courts, from accessing your criminal record.

Any of these legal processes, once completed, can reclassify you as someone who is not a prohibited possessor under federal and state law – effectively reinstating your right to bear arms.

How to Restore Your Gun Ownership Rights

Dealing with a felony arrest, charge or conviction in a way that allows you to restore your right to own a gun in Arizona requires specific legal processes. Different eligibility requirements apply to each possible solution. Certain types of offenses are not eligible for set-asides or expungement, for example, such as most violent crimes and sex crimes.

If you wish to explore your eligibility for the restoration of your civil rights as a convicted felon in Arizona, including the right to bear arms, start by consulting with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can evaluate your case and list the options that may be available for regaining gun ownership rights. Then, your lawyer can fill out and file the required legal documents to begin the process for you.

Hiring an attorney can improve your chances of a court granting your request the first time around, which can save you time, money and stress. For more information about the laws surrounding gun ownership as a felon in Arizona or assistance with the record expungement process, contact Corso Law Group at (480) 471-4616 for a free consultation.

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