Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated December 9, 2013
In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Utah ranked 41st out of 50 – having some of the weakest gun laws in the country.
In 2013, the Utah legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.
Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation
|UT H 50||Allows a court to prohibit the subject of a dating relationship protective order from possessing firearms.|
|UT H 121||Authorizes a cohabitant who owns a firearm to voluntarily commit the firearm to law enforcement for 60 days if the cohabitant believes another cohabitant is an immediate threat.|
Laws that Weaken Gun Regulation
|UT H 28||Specifies that the carrying or possession of a firearm on the campus of a state institution of higher education does not warrant an order to leave the property.|
|UT H 317||Prohibits the state or a political subdivision from compelling a concealed weapon permit holder to divulge whether he or she has a concealed weapon permit or is carrying a concealed firearm.|
|UT S 80||Provides a system to allow individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons to petition for relief from the disability.|
Among other things, Utah acts as a “point of contact state,” meaning that it conducts its own background checks on individuals purchasing firearms from licensed dealers.
Utah law does not, however:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed individuals;
- Require firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- Regulate the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Require gun owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
- Require the reporting of mentally ill individuals to the database used for firearm purchaser background checks;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm;
- Regulate unsafe handguns (“junk guns” or “Saturday night specials”);
- Significantly regulate ammunition;
- Afford local law enforcement significant discretion to deny a concealed carry license; or
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms.
In 2010, Utah had the 19th highest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009, Utah had the sixth highest ratio of crime gun exports to imports. Utah exports crime guns at a rate that is more than three times the rate at which it imports such guns.
Utah Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Utah, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.