Exploring Utah Concealed Weapon Laws: Know Your Rights

Firearms and other hazardous weapons are strictly forbidden in various locations. These prohibitions include:

  1. Within hearing rooms of higher instruction institutions, disciplinary facilities, law enforcement installations, mental health facilities, and any court.
  2. In secure areas of airports beyond the protection checkpoint.
  3. In churches or private residences if verbally notified, “no firearms” signs are displayed.

Moreover, individuals aged 18 to 20, holding a useful temporary suppressed firearm access, are not allowed to carry firearms on the premises of crowd or personal schools, including all kindergarten.

In detail

According to Section 53-5-710, individuals with any type of concealed firearm permit are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms in the following locations:

  1. Any secure area specified in Section 76-10-523.5, where firearms are banned and proper notice of the prohibition is posted. Section 76-10-523.5 comprises several laws. Although the justification of this section is quite lengthy, it will be simplified by cracking it down into subsections and providing detailed explanations for each.

Section 76-10-523.5 concerns submission with statutes for protected establishments. It mandates that any person, incorporating those permitted to hold up concealed firearms under Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 (Concealed Firearm Act), must adhere to the rules inaugurated for protected facilities outlined in Sections 53B-3-103, 76-8-311.1, 76-8-311.3, and 78A-2-203. Failure to comply may result in penalties as nourished in those sections.

The aforementioned law also incorporates various other laws, including:

  1. Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 (Concealed Firearm Act).
  2. Section 53B-3-103.
  3. Section 76-8-311.1.
  4. Section 76-8-311.3.
  5. Section 78A-2-203.

Section 53B-3-103 

It discusses the authority of the board concerning the adoption of rules and regulations within higher education institutions. Specifically:

Each university’s/colleges’ governing body holds the power to create codes and regulations concerning how their students. Employees & associates should conduct themselves within its premises & beyond. By extension then these entities can define how individuals affiliated with their institution – faculty members & students alike – should behave ideally in such environments henceforth ensuring an atmosphere of discipline & safety for all concerned parties

In addition: According to section 76 8 311.1 universities/higher education institutions can allocate a solitary secure area as a hearing space. However it must be noted that this does not place power in HEIs’ hands to make any further regulations related to the lawful possession or handling of firearms. • Board enforced regulations allow dormitory residents to request for roommates who do not have concealed firearm permits as long as certain requirements are met.

According to Subsection 2 (a)(ii)(A), (b)(i), and (b)(iii) provisions outlined for higher education institutions’ operations; they have been granted permission to identify an allocated space for hearings; where firearms, ammunition, or dangerous weaponry can prohibit them from being held within. Such prohibition remains only active during the time which hosts the hearing facility as well as a reasonable amount before and after said event. However, ensuring appropriate measures such as mechanical systems/electronic detectors/x-ray technology/smiliar device can detect any firearms present remains vital towards securing peoples’ safety within that assigned area. 

Designated areas termed ‘Mini school courtrooms’ using administrative panels address individual students who are found guilty of breaking school policies/procedures/codeof conduct-related matters with involvement from legal counsel/witnesses etc., although unlike formal criminal courts; these hearings bear no judicial status. Resembling more like small-sized conference rooms, variations in accommodations can happen to address specific circumstances at hand. Because of the nature of such hearings, necessary security provisions will dictate there being no allowance for firearms or weapons within these parameters. For evident guidance, Section 53B-3-102 provides a clearly outlined definition that accredits state institutions of higher learning as institutions classified under Section 53B-2-101 or any institution or branch affiliated with faculties/locations/campuses operating under the administration of State-run governing administrative boards.

Section 53B-2-101 further explains that certain institutions, listed within the law. The listed institutions include the University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Utah Tech University, Utah Valley University, Salt Lake Community College, Bridgerland Technical College, Davis Technical College, Dixie Technical College, Mountainland Technical College, Ogden-Weber Technical College, Southwest Technical College, Tooele Technical College, and Uintah Basin Technical College.

Moving onto Section 76 8-311.1 now reveals important information regarding secure areas and how they should be treated carefully moving forward–including clear outlines as to which items people must not bring with them into specified zones as well as what kind of punishments one may receive if found guilty of neglecting these rules .With regards to mentioning “correctional facility” here though its’ crucial we consider its precise definition which can be found over in Section 76 8-311.3 – where the term encompasses a wide array of locations including those supervised by the Department of Corrections that hold offenders; premises owned by municipalities/counties for criminal detainment; juvenile detention centers maintained by various facilities and even land or buildings made available for correctional purposes. Importantly, firearm possession in any “correctional facility ” violates the law.

According to Subsection 2 (c)

A “law enforcement facility” refers to a facility owned, leased, or operated by a law enforcement agency. It is strictly prohibited to carry a firearm into any law enforcement facility, excluding non-public areas.

Moving on to Subsection 2 (d), a “mental health facility” is defined as per Section 62A-15-602. This section elaborates that a mental health facility includes the Utah State Hospital or any other facility that provides mental health services under a contract with the division, a local mental health authority, a contracted entity of a local mental health authority, or a facility that offers acute inpatient psychiatric services to patients.

Additionally, Subsection 2 (e)(i) defines a “secure area” as an area where certain individuals are prohibited from transporting firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or explosives. It is required that at least one notice is prominently displayed at each entrance of such restricted areas. Furthermore, it clarifies that a “secure area” does not encompass any areas accessible to the general public.

This law emphasizes that carrying a firearm into any mental health facility is illegal, as explicitly stated in the text.

In Subsection (2)(a)

The person in charge of the State Tax Commission or a correctional, law enforcement, or mental health facility has the authority to establish secure areas within the facility. These areas can be used to prohibit or regulate the possession of firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or explosives through the implementation of rules.

Furthermore, Subsections (2)(a), (3), (4), (5), and (6) apply specifically to higher education secure area hearing rooms mentioned in Subsections 53B-3-103(2)(a)(ii) and (b).

According to Subsection (3), it is required to prominently display at least one notice at each entrance of an area where firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or explosives are restricted.

Subsection (4) addresses the provision of a secure weapons storage area in the restricted areas. This allows individuals entering the secure area to store their weapons prior to entering, and the responsibility for these stored weapons lies with the entity operating the facility.

Failure to comply with the aforementioned regulations can result in penalties as outlined in Section 76-8-311.1, where individuals who knowingly possess firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or implements of escape without permission within a correctional or mental health facility’s secure area may face charges of a third-degree felony.

In Section 76-8-311.3

The term “correctional facility” encompasses various facilities operated by or contracting with the Department of Corrections, municipalities, counties, and juvenile detention centers. These facilities are designed for the housing or detention of criminal offenders. Similarly, the term “mental health facility” corresponds to the definition provided in Section 62A-15-602.

Moreover, “secure area” in this context carries the same meaning as defined in Section 76-8-311.1, which refers to areas where certain individuals are restricted from transporting firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or explosives.

In accordance with Section 76-10-500, this section specifies that correctional or mental health facilities have the authority to establish rules prohibiting the presence of firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, implements of escape, explosives, controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, medicine, or poisons within their premises. These restrictions encompass the transportation, sale, giving away, use, and intentional possession of such items within the facilities.

The defense against prosecution under this section is available if the accused acted in conformity with the respective rules or policies of the Department of Corrections, a municipality, a county, or a mental health facility.

Violating these provisions carries severe consequences. Under Subsection (4)(a), individuals who transport firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or implements of escape to a correctional facility or the secure area of a mental health facility with the intent to provide or sell them to any offender commit a second-degree felony. Similarly, providing or selling such items to offenders or detainees at these facilities is also classified as a second-degree felony. Offenders or detainees found in possession of firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or implements of escape face charges of a second-degree felony as well. Lastly, individuals who knowingly possess firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, or implements of escape at correctional or mental health facilities without permission from the facility’s authority commit a third-degree felony.

Moving on to Section 78A-2-203, it grants the judicial council the power to establish security measures within courthouses or courtrooms, including the designation of secure areas as outlined in Section 76-8-311.1. If a secure area is established, the judicial council is required to provide a secure firearms storage area on-site, allowing individuals with lawfully carried firearms to store them while in the secure area. The responsibility for the stored firearms lies with the entity operating the facility, and they are not permitted to charge individuals for utilizing the storage area.

Unfortunately, there is a violation of the law as courts often fail to provide the required secure storage for firearms. Instead, court security or police officers may instruct individuals to leave their firearms in their vehicles, thereby disregarding the obligation to provide proper firearm storage.

In Section 78A-2-103

The term “courts” refers to all courts within the state, including those that are of record and not of record.

  • According to Section 78A-2-203(3)(a), unless explicitly permitted by the rules of judicial administration, anyone who knowingly or intentionally possesses a firearm, ammunition, or dangerous weapon within a secure area established by the judicial council is guilty of a third-degree felony.
  • Under Section 53-5-710(b), individuals with concealed firearm permits are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms in airport secure areas, as outlined in Section 76-10-529.
  • Section 76-10-529 states that within a secure area of an airport, individuals, including those licensed to carry concealed firearms, face penalties for possession of dangerous weapons or firearms. The severity of the offense varies based on the intent or recklessness involved. Additionally, transporting, possessing, distributing, or selling any explosive, chemical, or incendiary device in a secure airport area is a violation of Section 76-10-306.

Exceptions to the restrictions mentioned above include individuals exempted under Section 76-10-523 and members of the state or federal military forces while performing official duties.

Airport authorities, counties, or municipalities regulating airports have the authority to establish secure areas beyond the main public areas and utilize reasonable methods, such as electronic or x-ray devices, to detect concealed dangerous weapons, firearms, or explosives.

Notices indicating restrictions on the possession of dangerous weapons, firearms, or explosives must be prominently displayed at each entrance to a secure area.

If a dangerous weapon, firearm, or explosive is discovered, the airport authority, county, or municipality, along with their employees or personnel administering the secure area, may request the individual to surrender the item, exit the secure area, or retain custody of the item until law enforcement officers take possession.

Regarding the return or forfeiture of firearms, an individual prosecuted for a firearm possession violation shall have their firearm returned if they are lawfully allowed to possess it. Seized firearms are not subject to forfeiture if the charged individual is legally permitted to possess them. Prosecutors are prohibited from conditioning a plea on the forfeiture of a firearm in cases brought under this section.

Firearm at the car

In accordance with Section 24-3-103(1)(b), when a prosecuting attorney decides that a firearm seized from an individual in connection with a violation of Section 76-10-529 is no longer required as evidence for court proceedings, they must inform the agency holding the firearm that it should be returned to the individual if they are legally allowed to possess it.

Prior to returning the firearm to the individual, the agency responsible for returning the firearm must verify, with the assistance of the Bureau of Criminal Identification, that the individual is eligible under the law to lawfully possess and receive firearms.

According to Section 76-10-530, it is unlawful for a person, including those with a concealed firearm permit, to knowingly and intentionally transport a firearm into a private residence or enter or remain in a private residence while in possession of a firearm, if notice has been given that firearms are prohibited. Notice can be given through personal communication from the owner, lessee, or lawful possessor of the residence, or through the posting of signs that are likely to be noticed by individuals entering the house of worship or private residence.

It is important to note that an owner who has granted lawful possession to a renter or lessee cannot restrict them from lawfully possessing a firearm in the residence.

Violation of this law is considered an infraction.

Furthermore, Section 24-4-102(5) states that if a peace officer seizes an individual’s firearm as a result of an offense under Section 76-10-529, an agency cannot seek to forfeit the firearm if the individual is legally eligible to possess it.

The restriction on carrying concealed firearms extends to certain locations, including the Wasatch Presbyterian Church and all churches affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). According to Section 53-5-710(2), individuals under the age of 21, even with a concealed firearm permit, are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms on or about school premises, as defined in Section 76-10-505.5(1)(a).

The term “on or about school premises” encompasses various educational institutions. This includes public or private elementary or secondary schools and their grounds, public or private institutions of higher education and their grounds, as well as the area within a building where a preschool or child care facility is being operated. The possession of dangerous weapons, firearms, or short-barreled shotguns, as defined in Section 76-10-501, is strictly prohibited in these locations, as outlined in Section 76-10-505.5(2).

Violation of these provisions carries penalties. Possession of a dangerous weapon on or about school premises is considered a class B misdemeanor, while possession of a firearm or short-barreled shotgun is deemed a class A misdemeanor, as stated in Section 76-10-505.5(3)(a) and (b).

However, there are exceptions to this law. It does not apply if the person is authorized to possess a firearm under Section 53-5-704, 53-5-705, 76-10-511, or 76-10-523, or if the possession is otherwise authorized by law. Additionally, possession may be permitted if approved by the responsible school administrator, if the item is to be used in connection with a lawful activity and is under the control of the responsible person, or if the possession occurs at the person’s residence, on their property, or within a vehicle lawfully under their control, excluding school-owned or school-used vehicles, as outlined in Section 76-10-505.5(4)(a)-(e).

It’s important to note that this section does not prevent the prosecution of more serious weapons offenses that may occur on or about school premises, as specified in Section 76-10-505.5(5).

Firearm used in the army.

According to this particular law, individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 are prohibited from possessing any dangerous weapon, firearm, or short-barreled shotgun on or around school premises, including public or private elementary or secondary schools and their grounds. This prohibition applies to all schools encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade. It is important to note that this restriction does not apply to individuals who are 21 years of age or older and possess a regular concealed firearm permit in Utah.

However, there are exceptions to this law. The prohibition does not apply if the person is authorized to possess a firearm under specific sections of the law, such as Section 53-5-704 (Concealed Firearm Act), Section 53-5-705 (Temporary permit to carry concealed firearm), Section 76-10-511 (Possession of loaded firearm at residence or on real property authorized), Section 76-10-523 (Persons exempt from weapons laws), or if the person is authorized by any other applicable law.

To wrap up

Additionally, possession may be permitted if it is approved by the responsible school administrator, or if the possession of the weapon is connected to a lawful and approved activity and is under the control of the person responsible for its possession or use. The law also allows for possession in one’s place of residence or on their own property, even if it happens to be on school premises. Furthermore, individuals can lawfully possess firearms in their personal vehicles while parked on school premises, as long as the vehicle is not owned or used by the school for student transportation.

It is worth mentioning that this section does not prevent the prosecution of more serious weapons offenses that may occur on or around school premises. However, it is noted that the law specifically includes short-barreled shotguns as prohibited, but does not mention other firearms regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF/BATFE), such as silencers, short-barreled rifles (SBRs), fully automatic firearms, or Any Other Weapons (AOWs) regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The inclusion of short-barreled shotguns in this law while excluding other NFA firearms is a point of contention, as it raises questions about the consistency and comprehensiveness of the legislation.