Guns in Vehicles in Utah

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Utah generally prohibits carrying a concealed firearm without a concealed carry permit–including an unloaded firearm on the person or a firearm that is readily accessible for immediate use which is not securely encased–in a vehicle, unless the vehicle is in the person’s lawful possession or the person is carrying the loaded firearm with the consent of the person lawfully in possession of the vehicle.1

Utah also generally applies the same restrictions on carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle without the consent of the individual who is lawfully in possession of the vehicle, except for concealed carry permit holders.2 However, no person may possess a loaded long gun in any vehicle.3

Subject to limited exceptions, Utah law also generally prevents individuals from enforcing restrictions on individuals’ ability to transport or store a firearm in a 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.4 This rule does not apply, however, to school premises, government entities, religious organizations, and certain residential units.5

  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-504(1). []
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505(1). []
  3. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505(3). []
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 34-45-103. []
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 34-45-107. []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Utah

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Utah law generally prohibits carrying a concealed firearm without a permit–including an unloaded firearm on the person or one that is readily accessible for immediate use which is not securely encased–except in or on the person’s residence or property, a business under the person’s control, a vehicle in the person’s lawful possession, or in another individual’s vehicle if the person carrying the firearm has the consent of the individual in lawful possession of the vehicle.1 Utah law also generally prohibits carrying a loaded firearm on a public street.2 However, neither of these prohibitions apply if the state has issued to a person a permit to carry a concealed firearm.3

Utah is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification (“BCI”) must issue a concealed firearms permit if the applicant is 21 years of age or older, within 60 days, so long as the BCI establishes that the applicant:

  • Has not been convicted of a felony;
  • Has not been convicted of any crime of violence;4
  • Has not been convicted of any offense involving the use of alcohol;5
  • Has not been convicted of the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances;6
  • Has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude;7
  • Has not been convicted of any offense involving domestic violence;
  • Has not been adjudicated as “mentally incompetent,” unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed; and

In addition, the BCI may deny, suspend or revoke a permit if there is “reasonable cause” to believe that the applicant has been or is a danger to self or others as demonstrated by evidence including, but not limited to, and past pattern of behavior or past participation in incidents involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence.9 A “past pattern of behavior” means verifiable incidents, with or without an arrest or conviction, that would lead a reasonable person to believe that an individual has a violent nature and would be a danger to oneself or others.10 In determining whether the applicant has been or is a danger to self or others, the BCI may inspect expunged adult and juvenile records.11

In 2012, Utah repealed a provision requiring BCI to suspend a permit if the permit holder is charged with a crime of violence.

A law enacted in Utah in 2011 requires a nonresident applicant for a Utah concealed weapon permit who resides in a state that recognizes the validity of the Utah permit or has reciprocity with Utah’s concealed firearm permit to provide proof of his or her home state concealed weapon permit.12

A person who has applied for a permit may also apply for a temporary permit to carry a concealed firearm, which may be issued for 90 days after preliminary record checks and a demonstration in writing of “extenuating circumstances” that would justify issuing a temporary permit.13

In February of 2000, the BCI began checking arrest records on a daily basis against concealed firearms permit holders. As a result, permit revocations increased from 58 in 1998 and 75 in 1999, to 256 in 2000.14 Most recently, in 2010, 523 permits were revoked.15 As of March 31, 2008, there were 112,665 valid permits, up from 44,173 valid permits as of December 31, 2001.16 As of March 31, 2011, there were 249,003 valid permits.17

Firearm Safety Training

The BCI requires, with the application materials, evidence of familiarity with the types of firearms to be concealed.18 General familiarity with the types of firearms to be concealed includes training in the safe loading, unloading, storage, and carrying of those firearms, as well as knowledge of current firearms laws.19 Evidence of this familiarity may be satisfied by:

  • Completion of a course conducted by a national, state, or local firearms training organization approved by the BCI;
  • Certification by a person certified by the BCI (who may be a law enforcement officer, military or civilian firearms instructor, or hunter safety instructor); or
  • Equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition, law enforcement, or military service.20

Duration & Renewal

Once issued, Utah concealed firearms permits are valid for five years.21

Disclosure or Use of Information

Utah does not allow personal application or permit information of concealed firearm permit holders to be made public. Records of permits must be maintained in the Bureau of Criminal Identification, which must immediately file a copy of each permit it issues.22 However, the names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of persons receiving permits are considered “records the disclosure of which would jeopardize the life or safety of an individual.”23 As such, they are “protected records,” not available to the public for research purposes.24

Additional rules pertaining to accessing concealed firearm permit records are available in the Utah Administrative Code.25

Reciprocity

A permit to carry a concealed firearm that has been issued by another state (or a county within another state) is valid in Utah.26

For a list of states with which Utah has signed formal reciprocity agreements, see the Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification’s Utah Permit Reciprocity page.

 

  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-504(1). []
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-505. []
  3. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-523. []
  4. “Crime of Violence” is defined by Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-3(2)(d) as a crime which has, as an element, the use, threatened use, or attempted use of physical force or a dangerous weapon. []
  5. Offenses involving the use of alcohol are defined by Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-3(2)(m) to include a list of specific offenses. []
  6. Offenses involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances are defined in Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-3(2)(n). []
  7. Offenses involving moral turpitude are defined by Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-3(2)(l) to include any crime involving conduct which:
    (i) is done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals;
    (ii) has an element of falsification or fraud; or
    (iii) contains an element of harm or injury directed to another person or another’s property. []
  8. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(2). See also Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503 (outlining individuals who are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms). []
  9. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(3). []
  10. Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-3(P). []
  11. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(3). []
  12. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(4). []
  13. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-705. []
  14. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Firearms Statistical Review (4th Quarter 2005). []
  15. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Firearms Statistical Review (1st Quarter 2011). []
  16. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Firearms Statistical Review (4th Quarter 2001); Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Firearms Statistical Review (1st Quarter 2008). []
  17. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Firearms Statistical Review (1st Quarter 2011). []
  18. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704. []
  19. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704. []
  20. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704. []
  21. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-704(1)(b). []
  22. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-708(1). []
  23. Utah. Code Ann. § 63G-2-305(10). []
  24. Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-202. []
  25. See Utah Admin. Code r. 722-300-12. []
  26. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-523(2). []

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Utah

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 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 for any felony;
  • Within the last seven years has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a felony;
  • Is an unlawful user of a controlled substance;3
  • 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.4

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.5

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.6 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.7 A person may be subject to the restrictions of both categories at the same time.8

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.9

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.

  1. “Violent felony” is defined in Utah Code Ann. §76-3-203.5. []
  2. “Secure facility” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 62A-7-101. []
  3. “Controlled substance” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-2. []
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1). []
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-804. []
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(2). []
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(3). []
  8. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(4). []
  9. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-204(1)(d). []

Keeping California on the Leading Edge of Smart Gun Laws

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

CA-Leg-Update

The 2015 legislative session is in full swing, and the Law Center is committed to continuing to shape California’s common-sense approach to responsible gun ownership and safety. Our attorneys are busy: tracking laws, testifying at public safety hearings, and working alongside lawmakers to pass legislation that will keep the Golden State a model for the rest of the nation when it comes to enacting smart gun laws that save lives.

This year, we are particularly focused on two important bills to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and away from our schools:

SB 347 “prohibited persons”: would require that criminals convicted of three serious firearms-related misdemeanors are not able to possess or purchase a gun within 10 years of their conviction. This bill will protect public safety, given that individuals who commit gun-related crimes are much more likely than law-abiding citizens to commit future offenses, including acts of violence.

SB 707 “gun-free school zone”: would eliminate a dangerous loophole in California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act by prohibiting individuals licensed to carry concealed handguns from carrying their weapons onto school grounds without the written permission of school officials. This bill would help ensure that school administrators have the discretion they need to provide students with a safe and secure learning environment.

To learn more about all of the firearm-related bills introduced in the California State Legislature this year, check out our comprehensive 2015 California Legislative Summary below.

For more info on legislative trends that are currently developing nationwide, read our 2015 State Gun Law Trendwatch.

READ MORE »

Background Checks in Utah

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Utah is a point of contact state for NICS.1 Utah law provides that, before transferring a firearm, all firearm dealers in Utah must contact the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety (more commonly known as the Bureau of Criminal Identification, or BCI), which conducts the background check referenced above.2

The dealer must require an individual receiving a firearm to present one form of government-issued photo identification. The individual must consent in writing to the background check and provide personal information on a form provided by BCI. The dealer must then contact BCI by telephone or electronic means.3 BCI is required to review criminal history files, including juvenile court records, to determine if the individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by state or federal law, prior to approving a firearm transfer.4 The dealer may not transfer the firearm until receiving approval from BCI.5

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions. As a result, Utah concealed handgun license holders are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a firearm.6 Utah law also exempts concealed handgun license holders from the state provision requiring a background check.7 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state firearms licenses if the state fails to remove these licenses in a timely fashion.)

Firearms transfers by private sellers (sellers who are not licensed as firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in Utah. See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Sept. 3, 2015). []
  2. See Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526(3)(a). Under Utah law, this requirement does not apply if the federally licensed dealer is transferring the firearm to another federally licensed dealer. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526(3)(b). []
  3. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526. []
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526. []
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526. []
  6. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart (Aug. 26, 2011), at: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/brady-law/permit-chart.html. []
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526(13). []

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Utah

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Utah law does not:

  • Prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, unlike federal law;
  • Require courts to notify domestic abusers when they become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law; or
  • Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders

When a petition for an order of protection is filed, the court may prohibit the respondent from purchasing, using, or possessing a firearm upon a finding that the respondent’s use or possession of a weapon may pose a serious threat of harm to the petitioner.1 The court may make such an order ex parte (without notice to the respondent).2 A petition for such an order may be brought by any emancipated person or person 16 years of age or older who:

  • Is or was a spouse of the other party;
  • Is or was living as if a spouse of the other party;
  • Is related by blood or marriage to the other party;
  • Has one or more children in common with the other party;
  • Is the biological parent of the other party’s unborn child; or
  • Resides or has resided in the same residence as the other party.3

However, a petition for such an order may not be brought if one party is the natural parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent of the other, who is a minor, or if both parties are natural, adoptive, step, or foster siblings who are under 18 years of age.4

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.5

In 2013, Utah also adopted a law authorizing a court, when issuing a dating violence protective order, to prohibit the respondent from possessing or acquiring firearms if the order is issued after a hearing, the preponderance of the evidence shows the respondent has committed abuse or dating violence against the petitioner, and there is clear and convincing evidence that the respondent’s use or possession of a firearm poses a serious threat of harm to the petitioner or a designated family or household member.6

Federal law also prohibits firearm possession by certain protective order defendants.

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Utah requires a law enforcement officer who responds to an allegation of domestic violence to confiscate the weapon or weapons involved in the alleged domestic violence incident.7

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Utah Code Ann. §§ 78B-7-106(2)(d), 78B-7-107(2). []
  2. Id. []
  3. Utah Code Ann. §§ 77-36-1(4), 78B-7-102(2), (5), 78B-7-106, and 78B-7-107(2). []
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-102(3). []
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-204(1)(d). []
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-404(3)(b), (5). []
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 77-36-2.1(1)(b). []

Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department: Amicus Brief Arguing Against the Use of Strict Scrutiny in Second Amendment Cases

Posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

mentalhealth-cropped

Case Information: Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Dep’t, No. 13-1876 (6th Cir. Brief Filed Aug. 19, 2015)

At issue: This case presents an as-applied challenge to the federal statute that prohibits firearm possession for individuals who have been involuntary committed to a mental institution. The plaintiff, Clifford Tyler, had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution in the 1980s, but had a clean record and bill of health since that time and argued that the statute, as applied to him, violated the Second Amendment. The Sixth Circuit agreed with this argument and, in doing so, became the first federal court of appeals to generally endorse strict scrutiny as the appropriate level of review for Second Amendment challenges. This case has important implications for how courts around the country analyze laws designed to reduce gun crime and violence.

The Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that the Sixth Circuit was wrong in its general conclusion that strict scrutiny should be the default level of review for Second Amendment cases. As the harshest level of review available, strict scrutiny is inappropriate in the context of firearms regulations that have been proven to save lives. If any heightened scrutiny is in fact mandated by the Second Amendment, intermediate scrutiny is the more appropriate level of review. Our brief argues that it is not true that laws that burden fundamental rights automatically trigger strict scrutiny and that several of the factors relied on in applying strict scrutiny in other contexts are not present in the Second Amendment arena. Unlike other constitutional rights, the exercise of Second Amendment rights inherently increase the risk of injury and death to others. Moreover, the Heller court itself implicitly rejected strict scrutiny when it classified several categories of laws, such as felon-in-possession laws, as “presumptively valid.”

Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Tennessee

Posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1314(a) states that “the general assembly preempts the whole field of the regulation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition, or combinations thereof including, but not limited to, the use, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, carrying, sale, acquisition, gift, devise, licensing, registration, storage, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all county, city, town, municipality, or metropolitan government law, ordinances, resolutions, enactments or regulation. No county, city, town, municipality, or metropolitan government nor any local agency, department, or official shall occupy any part of the field regulation of firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or ammunition, or combinations thereof.”

Local regulation is permitted where explicitly provided by Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1314(b) or other state laws.1 Subsection (b) generally allows local regulation of:

  • The carrying of firearms by local government employees or independent contractors when acting in the course and scope of their employment or contract;
  • The discharge of firearms within the limits of the city, county, town municipality or metropolitan government;
  • The location of shooting ranges; and
  • The enforcement of state or federal firearm and ammunition laws.

Local governments may prohibit the possession of weapons, including gun possession by any person with a Tennessee handgun carry permit, at meetings conducted by, or on property owned, operated, managed or under the control of the government entity.2

In 1999, the Tennessee General Assembly amended section 39-17-1314 to reserve to the state the exclusive “authority to bring suit and right to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer by or on behalf of any” state entity or local government for damages, abatement or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition unless based on a breach of contract or warranty in connection with firearms purchased by that entity.3 For more information about this statute, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Tennessee.

While there are no cases construing the provisions of sections 39-17-1314 or 39-17-1359, the Tennessee Attorney General has addressed whether local governments may prohibit the possession of handguns or long guns on publicly-owned property.4 Reviewing the provisions of both Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-17-1314(a) and 39-17-1359, the Attorney General opined that although section 39-17-1314(a) precludes local government entities from regulating firearm possession, localities do have the authority to regulate the possession of firearms – both handguns and long guns – on property owned or controlled by a local government.5 The Attorney General has also opined that while municipal regulations are permitted under Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-5-106 to regulate the sale of beer via a permit process, a local jurisdiction cannot use this process to restrict a person from possessing a firearm on the premises of an establishment with a permit to sell beer, as section 39-17-1314(a) prohibits such regulation.6

In 2014, the state enacted a law prohibiting local governments from regulating the possession, transportation or storage of a firearm or firearm ammunition by a handgun carry permit holder in such person’s vehicle while utilizing public or private parking areas.7

 

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1314(a). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1359(a). []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1314(d)(1), (2). []
  4. Op. Att’y Gen. 04-020, 2004 Tenn. AG LEXIS 20 (Feb. 9, 2004). []
  5. Opinion No. 04-020, at *1-*2, *6. []
  6. Op. Att’y Gen. 09-118, 2009 Tenn. AG LEXIS 154 (June 12, 2009). []
  7. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1313(a). []

Registration of Firearms in Tennesee

Posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Tennessee does not require the registration of firearms.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Tennessee

Posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Tennessee has no law requiring gun owners or purchasers to obtain a license.

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.