Can HOAs Ban Gun Carry in the Community?

Question:  The CC&Rs for our Glendale community prohibit the “carrying, use, or discharge of firearms or other weapons” in the community.  Although our HOA Board of Directors has never enforced this ban on gun “carrying,” at our annual meeting one of our homeowners said that he has several guns in his home.  He also said that he regularly takes these guns for practice shooting at a local shooting range.  Isn’t this homeowner “carrying” weapons in our community if he takes these weapons from his home to the shooting range?  If so, can we fine this homeowner for violating the CC&R?

Answer:  If the homeowner places the guns inside the trunk of his car when leaving the community for the shooting range, that is probably not “carrying.”  If the homeowner has the weapons in the front seat of his car that can be seen by other homeowners, that is probably “carrying.”  If there is a “carrying” violation of the CC&Rs, this violation can be enforced by issuing the homeowner a fine.

The general rule is that CC&Rs are private regulations by homeowners in a community that are enforced by their HOA. These private regulations can be enforced by the HOA Board of Directors unless enforcement is prohibited by law. Although Arizona statutes limit HOAs from regulating “for sale” signs and the display of the American flag, there are no Arizona statutes prohibiting or limiting HOAs from banning the carrying of firearms in the community.

Note: Similarly, private regulations by a university can also ban the carrying of firearms on its campus. Here is a follow-up article distinguishing public and private gun regulations.

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