Guns in Schools in Utah

Posted on January 1, 2012

Utah prohibits any person from possessing any firearm at a place that the person knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is on or about school premises.1 “On or about school premises” is defined as:

  • In a public or private elementary or secondary school, or on the grounds of any such school;
  • In a public or private institution of higher education or on the grounds of any such institution;
  • Inside the room or rooms where a preschool or child-care operation is being held.2

In 2011, Utah repealed restrictions governing other buildings, parks and stadiums being used for K-12 school activity, the area within 1,000 feet of school grounds, and other portions of buildings that house preschools and daycare centers.

Concealed weapons permit holders are not subject to the prohibition against firearms on or about school premises.3 Other exceptions include:

  • Firearms used in connection with a lawful, approved activity in the possession or under the control of the person responsible for its possession or use;
  • Possession at the person’s place of residence;
  • Possession on the person’s property; or
  • Possession in any vehicle lawfully under the person’s control, other than a vehicle owned by the school or used by the school to transport students.4

In Utah, any student in a public elementary or secondary school who possesses or controls a firearm shall be expelled from school for a period of not less than one year.5

While the Utah State Board of Regents generally has the power to enact regulations governing the conduct of university and college students, faculty, and employees, Utah law expressly reserves to the Utah State Legislature the authority to regulate firearms at higher education institutions.6 Therefore, while the Utah State Board of Regents maintains limited authority to regulate firearms in the areas listed below, it may not otherwise authorize higher education institutions to restrict the lawful possession or carrying of firearms.7 Specifically, the State Board of Regents may authorize a higher education institution to:

  • Allow dormitory residents to request only roommates who are not licensed to carry a concealed firearm; or
  • Ensure enforcement of rules pertaining to private hearing rooms that have been designated as “secure areas”, meaning that there are restrictions on the transportation of firearms and ammunition into the hearing rooms.8

For more information about the rights of public entities to regulate firearms on public property, see Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Utah.

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505.5(2). []
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505.5(1). []
  3. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505.5. []
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505.5. []
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-904(2)(a), (b). []
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 53B-3-103(1), (2)(a). []
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 53B-3-103(2). []
  8. Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-8-311.1 and 53B-3-103. []