Utah Gun Laws

Utah Firearm Laws Utah Gun Laws

NOTE: This website exists as a reference only, and is not to be taken as legal advice. Always read the laws yourself. There may be other laws than the listed laws, information may become out of date, and the interpretations here may not be correct.


Firearm Law

This page will begin to describe some Utah Firearm Law but it is far from complete.

Many important definitions are found in 76-10-501.

Search through Utah Code directly. Under 76-10, section 500-600 is where most of the firearm laws are found.

State Preemption Laws

Utah has state firearm preemption laws.

76-10-500 Uniform law.
76-10-500. Uniform law.
(1) The individual right to keep and bear arms being a constitutionally protected right, the Legislature finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state. Except as specifically provided by state law, a citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien shall not be:
(a) prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring, transporting, or keeping any firearm at his place of residence, property, business, or in any vehicle lawfully in his possession or lawfully under his control; or
(b) required to have a permit or license to purchase, own, possess, transport, or keep a firearm.
(2) This part is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities. All authority to regulate firearms shall be reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities. Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.
53-5a-102
53-5a-102. Uniform firearm laws.
(1) The individual right to keep and bear arms being a constitutionally protected right under Article I, Section 6 of the Utah Constitution, the Legislature finds the need to provide uniform civil and criminal firearm laws throughout the state.
(2) Except as specifically provided by state law, a local authority or state entity may not:
(a) prohibit an individual from owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring, transporting, or keeping a firearm at the individual's place of residence, property, business, or in any vehicle lawfully in the individual's possession or lawfully under the individual's control; or
(b) require an individual to have a permit or license to purchase, own, possess, transport, or keep a firearm.
(3) In conjunction with Title 76, Chapter 10, Part 5, Weapons, this section is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities.
(4) All authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities.
(5) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property.
(6) As used in this section:
(a) "firearm" has the same meaning as defined in Section 76-10-501; and
(b) "local authority or state entity" includes public school districts, public schools, and state institutions of higher education.
(7) Nothing in this section restricts or expands private property rights.

Utah Firearm Carry Laws

Loaded Firearms

Per 76-10-505, unless otherwise authorized by law a person may not carry a loaded firearm on a public street or in a posted prohibited area. Per 53-5-704 and 76-10-523, 76-10-505 does not apply to a person issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm, therefore a person issued such a permit may carry a loaded firearm on public streets.

Per 76-10-511 a person may have a loaded firearm on his own real property, as well as in his residence, including any temporary residence or camp.

The definition of loaded is provided in 76-10-502.

(1) For the purpose of this chapter, any pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon described in this part shall be deemed to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.
(2) Pistols and revolvers shall also be deemed to be loaded when an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile to be fired.
(3) A muzzle loading firearm shall be deemed to be loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinders.

Location Restrictions

There are many places where there are restrictions on firearms, as shown in the table:

Location Restrictions
LocationUtah CodeRestrictionNotes
School, Preschool, Childcare, Higher Education Facilities76-10-505.5 A person shall not possess a dangerous weapon, firearm or short barreled shotgun as defined in 76-10-501 at a place the person knows or should have reasonable cause to believe is a:
  • Public or private elementary or second schools and their grounds
  • Public or private institutions of higher education and their grounds
  • Inside the building where a preschool or child care is held if the whole building is for that purpose, or the part of a building used for such purpose if the whole building is not used for that purpose
The following exceptions exist:
  • A person issued a concealed firearm permit by the bureau authorized by 53-5-704 This interpretation is supported by the Utah Department of Public Safety
  • A person authorized by 53-5-705 (Temporary Permits), 76-10-511 (Residences and Real Property), or 76-10-523 (US Marshals, Federal Officials required to carry a firearm, Peace Officers of any jurisdiction, law enforcement or judge defined and qualified under under 53-5-711, common carriers engaged in the regular ordinary transport of firearms as merchandise, nonresidents traveling through the state with unloaded securely encased firearms. [Other state permit holders?])
  • Possession of such a weapon upon approval by a responsible school administrator
  • A firearm possessed in connection with lawful approved activity and is under control of the person responsible for its use.
  • Firearm is possessed at the residence or property of the possessor.
  • Firearm is in a vehicle lawfully under the person's control, other than a vehicle owned by the school or used to transport students
Campus Hearing Rooms53B-3-103
76-8-311.1
53-5-710
53B-3-103 A higher education institution may have no more than one secure area where weapons are restricted called a "hearing room," but otherwise cannot restrict the lawful possession or carrying of firearms beyond what is specified by state law. ( This means for example that a person with a concealed firearm permit, exempt from 76-10-505.5, cannot be restricted except in such a "hearing room.")Such a hearing room must have reasonable means to detect weapons such as mechanical, x-ray, or electronic devices, and any individual requested or required to enter such an area must be notified in writing of the requirements related to entering the hearing room. The restriction on weapons in the hearing room is also only in effect during the time it is in use for hearings and for a reasonable time before and afterwards. 76-8-311.1 A notice must be displayed at each entrance to an area where weapons are restricted. Provisions shall be made to provide a secure weapons storage area for persons entering the secure area. 76-10-523.5, Any person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shall comply with any rule established for secure facilities pursuant to Utah Code. 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any secure area in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted.
Correctional, Law Enforcement, Mental Health Facilities76-8-311.1
76-8-311.3
53-5-710
76-8-311.1 A person in charge of a correctional, law enforcement, or mental health facility may establish secure areas and may prohibit or control by rule any firearm, ammunition, dangerous weapon, or explosive. 76-8-311.3 It is a felony to knowingly possess any firearm, ammunition, dangerous weapon, or implement of escape at a correctional facility or secure area of a mental health facility without the permission of the authority operating the facility.76-8-311.1 A notice must be displayed at each entrance to an area where weapons are restricted. Provisions shall be made to provide a secure weapons storage area for persons entering the secure area. 76-10-523.5, Any person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shall comply with any rule established for secure facilities pursuant to Utah Code. 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any secure area in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted.
Courts of Record78A-2-203
76-8-311.1
76-10-523.5
53-5-710
Courts can create a secure area where weapons are restricted, and anyone within the secure area violating the rules of the court by knowingly or intentionally possessing a firearm, ammunition, or dangerous weapon is guilty of a felony. A secure firearms storage area on site shall be provided for persons entering the secure area, and may not charge a fee for firearm storage. 76-8-311.1 A notice must be displayed at each entrance to an area where weapons are restricted. 76-10-523.5, Any person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shall comply with any rule established for secure facilities pursuant to Utah Code. 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any secure area in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted.
Airport Secure Area76-10-529
53-5-710
76-10-529 An airport authority, coutny, or municipality regulating the airport may establish any secure area beyond the main area where the public generally buys tickets, checks and retrieves luggage. It is unlawful to possess any dangerous weapon or firearm knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or with criminal negligence within a secure area.76-10-529 Exceptions exist for members of state and military forces while engaged in the performance of their duties, and to US Marshals, federal officials required to carry a firearm, peace officers of any jurisdiction, as well as judges and law enforcement officials qualified under 53-5-711. 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any airport secure area.
Houses of Worship, Private Residences76-10-530
53-5-710
76-10-530 A person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, after having been given notice that firearms are prohibited, may not knowingly and intentionally possess a firearm in such house of worship or private residence. Violation is an infraction. Notice that firearms are prohibited may be given in the following ways:
  • By personal communication from the organization operating the house of worship or a person with authority to act for it, the owner, lessee, or person with lawful right of possession of a private residence, or a person with authority to act on behalf of one of those people or entities.
  • By posting signs reasonably likely to come to the attention of persons entering the house of worship or private residence.
  • Announcement by a perosn with authority to act for the organization, in a regular congregational meeting in the house of worship.
  • Publication in a bulletin, newsletter, worship program, or similar document generally circulated or available to the members of the congregation regularly meeting in the house of worship
  • Publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the house of worship is located or the church or organization operating the house has its principal office in Utah.
  • Within 30 days of announcement or publication the house of worship must notify the the division, which shall post on its website a list of churches and organization who have given notices by announcement or publication. These notices are in effect for one year.
76-10-530 A church can provide exceptions to its prohibitions on firearms. 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any house of worship or in any private residence where dangerous weapons are prohibited. BCI List The Bureau of Criminal Investigation has the list on their website of churches that have given notice that they prohibit firearms. As of July 14, 2013, the only listed church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Concealed Weapons

76-10-504 is the main provision that outlaws concealed carry without a permit.

76-10-504. Carrying concealed dangerous weapon -- Penalties.
(1) Except as provided in Section 76-10-503 and in Subsections (2), (3), and (4), a person who carries a concealed dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 76-10-501, including an unloaded firearm on his or her person or one that is readily accessible for immediate use which is not securely encased, as defined in this part, in or on a place other than the person's residence, property, a vehicle in the person's lawful possession, or a vehicle, with the consent of the individual who is lawfully in possession of the vehicle, or business under the person's control is guilty of a class B misdemeanor..
(2) A person who carries a concealed dangerous weapon which is a loaded firearm in violation of Subsection (1) is guilty of a class A misdemeanor...

....

(5) Nothing in Subsection (1) or (2) shall prohibit a person engaged in the lawful taking of protected or unprotected wildlife as defined in Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code of Utah, from carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm as long as the taking of wildlife does not occur:
(a) within the limits of a municipality in violation of that municipality's ordinances; or
(b) upon the highways of the state as defined in Section 41-6a-102

Activity Restrictions

There are some restrictions on activities that you can do while you are carrying a firearm, as shown in the table:

Activity Restrictions
ActivityUtah Code AnnotatedRestrictionExceptions
Alcohol/Drug Consumption76-10-528 A person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle may not possess a dangerous weapon. Unlike many states, there are no laws explicitly banning firearms at liquor selling establishments.There are no exceptions, not even for hunting or carrying with a permit.

Car Carry

Per 76-10-505 one may not possess a loaded rifle, shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle in a vehicle. One may not carry other types of loaded firearms (such as handguns) in a vehicle unless the vehicle is in the person's lawful possession or the person has the consent of the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle. Also, a person under the age of 18 can not possess a loaded firearm in a vehicle. When in a vehicle under a persons control or with the consent of the person who legally possesses the vehicle, the firearm can also be carried in a concealed fashion per 76-10-504

Per 53-5-704 and 76-10-523, 76-10-505 does not apply to a person issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm, therefore a person issued such a permit may carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

UCA 34-45-103 forbids a person from banning legally possessed firearms within their parking lot, if the firearms are securely locked within a vehicle or in a locked container attached to the vehicle. However, a person can ban firearms in a parking lot if they provide alternative parking or a secured monitored storage area to store firearms. However, UCA 34-45-107 allows schools, government entities, religious organizations, as well as owner and tenant occupied single family dwellings to be exempt from 34-45-103

34-45-103 Protection of certain activities -- Firearms -- Free exercise of religion.
(1) Except as provided in Subsection (2), a person may not establish, maintain, or enforce any policy or rule that has the effect of: (a) prohibiting any individual from transporting or storing a firearm in a motor vehicle on any property designated for motor vehicle parking, if: (i) the individual is legally permitted to transport, possess, purchase, receive, transfer, or store the firearm;.
(ii) the firearm is locked securely in the motor vehicle or in a locked container attached to the motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is not occupied; and
(iii) the firearm is not in plain view from the outside of the motor vehicle; or
(b) prohibiting any individual from possessing any item in or on a motor vehicle on any property designated for motor vehicle parking, if the effect of the policy or rule constitutes a substantial burden on that individual's free exercise of religion. (2) A person may establish, maintain, or enforce a policy or rule that has the effect of placing limitations on or prohibiting an individual from transporting or storing a firearm in a motor vehicle on property the person has designated for motor vehicle parking if: (a) the person provides, or there is otherwise available, one of the following, in a location reasonably proximate to the property the person has designated for motor vehicle parking: (i) alternative parking for individuals who desire to transport, possess, receive, transfer, or store a firearm in the individual's motor vehicle at no additional cost to the individual; or (ii) a secured and monitored storage location where the individual may securely store a firearm before proceeding with the vehicle into the secured parking area; or (b) the person complies with Subsection 34-45-107(5).

Concealed Carry

Per 76-10-504 carrying a concealed dangerous weapon including an unloaded firearm on the person or readily accessible for immediate use is generally a misdemeanor of varying degree, but can also be a felony depending on the circumstances. 76-10-503 provides some circumstances for different penalties.

Exceptions
  • One may conceal an unloaded firearm that is securely encased.
  • One may carry a concealed dangerous weapon at his own residence, or a property, or business under his control.
  • One may carry a concealed dangerous weapon in a vehicle under his control or with the consent from the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle.
  • A person may also carry a concealed weapon if the person is engaged in the lawful taking of protected or unprotected wildlife as defined by the Wildlife Resources Code of Utah, so long as it is not done upon the highways of the state or within the limits of a municipality in violation of that municipalities ordinances.
  • A person issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm by the bureau is exempt from the prohibition on carrying a concealed dangerous weapon under 76-10-504 (except in the case of an unlawfully possessed short barreled shotgun or rifle.)

Restricted Places for Concealed Carry

Per 53-5-710 A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:

  • A secure area prescribed in 76-10-523.5 in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted.
  • In an airport secure area as provided in 76-10-529
  • In any house of worship or in any private residence where dangerous weapons are prohibited as provided in 76-10-530

Issuance of Permit to Carry Concealed Firearm

53-5-704 concerns the issuance of permits to carry a concealed firearm. Utah is a shall-issue state, meaning that it issues concealed firearm permits to anyone who meets the qualifications. The permit is generally valid for 5 years.

Open Carry

Open carry is generally lawful in Utah, although without a concealed firearm permit the firearm must be unloaded. Per 76-10-506

(1) As used in this section, "threatening manner" does not include: (a) the possession of a dangerous weapon, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior which is threatening;

76-10-506 also authorizes one to inform another that one has a concealed weapon in order to prevent a violent felony from being committed against them.

Dorm Roommate Selection

Per 53B-3-103, a student in the system of higher education can request a dorm room without a roommate who is issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Recent Updates

July 14, 2013: This sub-page is in its infancy. I am now adding content.