Posted on September 3, 2015
Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.
Utah law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:
- Is a Category I restricted person, meaning a person who:
- Has been convicted of any violent felony;1
- Is on probation or parole for any felony;
- Is on parole from a “secure facility”;2 or
- Within the last 10 years has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony; or
- Is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the U.S.;
- Is a Category II restricted person, meaning a person who:
- Has been convicted of a felony or, within the last seven years has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a felony;3
- Is an unlawful user of a controlled substance;4
- Is in possession of a dangerous weapon and is knowingly and intentionally in unlawful possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
- Has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of, or has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for, a felony offense;
- Has been adjudicated mentally defective as provided in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq. or has been committed to a mental institution;
- Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces; or
- Has renounced one’s citizenship after having been a citizen of the U.S.5
Additionally, a person who has been convicted of a crime for which the penalty was enhanced due to the offense being “gang-related” may not possess a firearm or ammunition within a minimum of five years after the conviction.6
In 2012, Utah repealed its prohibition against firearm possession by a person currently under indictment for a felony.
A Category I restricted person who intentionally or knowingly agrees, consents, offers, or arranges to purchase, transfer, possess, use, or have under one’s custody or control, or who intentionally or knowingly purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under one’s custody or control any firearm is criminally liable for a second degree felony.7 A Category II restricted person who purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under one’s custody or control any firearm is criminally liable for a third degree felony.8 A person may be subject to the restrictions of both categories at the same time.9
If a finding is made that the subject of a child protective order or an ex parte child protective order may pose a serious threat of harm to the minor, the order may prohibit the subject from purchasing, using or possessing a firearm.10
For information about the background check process used to enforce these prohibitions, see the Utah Background Checks section.
See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- “Violent felony” is defined in Utah Code Ann. §76-3-203.5. [↩]
- “Secure facility” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 62A-7-101. [↩]
- However, this prohibition does not apply to (i) a conviction or adjudication of delinquency for an offense pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraint of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices not involving theft or fraud; or (ii) a conviction or adjudication of delinquency which, according to the law of the jurisdiction in which it occurred, has been expunged, set aside, reduced to a misdemeanor by court order, pardoned or regarding which the person’s civil rights have been restored unless the pardon, reduction, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(c). [↩]
- “Controlled substance” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-2. [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1). [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-804. [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(2). [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(3). [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(4). [↩]
- Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-204(1)(d). [↩]