In the state of Utah, there are specific regulations regarding the possession and carrying of firearms in vehicles. Individuals who are at least 18 years old and not classified as prohibited persons under laws 76-10-503 and 18 U.S.C. 922(g) are legally allowed to have a fully loaded handgun in a vehicle. This includes the option of concealing the handgun on their person if they either own the vehicle or have obtained consent from the owner. However, it is important to note that having a loaded rifle, shotgun, or muzzle-loading rifle in a vehicle is prohibited unless the individual possesses a valid concealed firearm permit and meets the ownership or consent requirements.
Furthermore, it is strictly forbidden to have or carry any firearm, even if unloaded, in a vehicle within areas designated as state-prohibited or federal-prohibited areas. These areas encompass locations such as correctional facilities, mental health facilities, military bases, post offices, and more, including their parking lots. It is crucial to respect and adhere to these restrictions to avoid legal consequences.
While it is not mandatory to notify a law enforcement officer about the possession of a firearm in a vehicle, it is advisable to familiarize oneself with the specific laws and regulations of the state to ensure compliance and avoid any potential misunderstandings or complications.
Commercial Drivers License
The issue of having a firearm while operating a vehicle for employment purposes, particularly for individuals with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), has raised numerous inquiries. A commercial vehicle, as defined in 41-1a-102, encompasses motor vehicles, trailers, or semitrailers utilized for transporting persons or property. These vehicles function as carriers for hire, compensation, or profit, or serve as a means to transport the owner’s goods or property in support of their commercial enterprise.
When it comes to commercial vehicles, the same regulations apply as they do for personally owned vehicles. It is not against the law to have a firearm in the vehicle, as discussed in the previous section, even if your employer has established a written policy or explicitly stated “no firearms or weapons in our vehicles.” The potential consequence in such cases, if your employer discovers the presence of a firearm, is termination of employment.
However, it is important to note that according to 76-10-505.5, if the vehicle in question is owned by a school or utilized by the school for transporting students (such as a school bus), the possession of a firearm or short-barreled shotgun is deemed a class A misdemeanor, while possession of a dangerous weapon is considered a class B misdemeanor.
Individuals operating commercial vehicles, including those with a CDL, should be aware of these distinctions and comply with the applicable laws and regulations regarding firearms possession and transportation to ensure both their legal standing and the safety of all involved parties.
Navigating Firearm Possession When Exiting Vehicles
When it comes to exiting vehicles while carrying firearms, there are specific regulations to be aware of, and the requirements vary depending on age and possession of a valid concealed firearm permit.
If you are at least 18 years old and do not possess a valid provisional concealed firearm permit, it is necessary to ensure that the handgun is unloaded and in plain view, following the practice of “open carry.” However, if you are at least 18 years old and hold a valid provisional concealed firearm permit, you are permitted to carry any legally owned firearm, fully loaded and concealed.
For individuals who are at least 21 years old, there are further allowances. They can carry any legally owned firearm, fully loaded and concealed, either with a valid concealed firearm permit or under Utah’s constitutional carry law, which permits concealed carry without a permit.
When it comes to storing firearms in a vehicle’s parking lot, it is generally legal unless specifically prohibited by state or federal law. However, it is crucial to ensure that the firearm is securely stored within the vehicle or in a locked container attached to the vehicle. Furthermore, the firearm should not be visible from the outside of the vehicle. Understanding and adhering to these regulations regarding the carrying and storage of firearms while exiting vehicles is essential for individuals in Utah to remain compliant with the law and maintain safety and security.
Your Rights on the Road: Traveling Safely with Firearms
- Traveling Across State Borders with Firearms: Understanding the Legalities
When traveling out of state with firearms, it is important to be aware of the following legal requirements and considerations:
- Compliance with State Laws: Ensure that the firearm and ammunition you are transporting are legal within the state you are traveling through. Different states have varying regulations regarding firearms.
- Unloaded Firearm: The firearm must be unloaded, meaning there should be no ammunition inside the firearm itself.
- Secure Storage: The firearm and any accompanying ammunition should not be readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment (such as the trunk). If your vehicle lacks a separate compartment from the driver’s area (e.g., pickup truck, motorcycle), it is necessary to store the firearm and ammunition in a locked container.
- Secure Placement: The firearm should be secured (locked) in an area other than the glove compartment or console, adhering to the requirement for secure storage.
It is crucial to note that while federal law permits the transportation of firearms, some states have stringent gun laws. It is possible for law enforcement to apprehend you, even if you are in compliance with federal regulations. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with and adhere to the laws of the states you are traveling into.
Note: The provisions mentioned above may not apply to handguns for individuals who possess a valid concealed firearm permit from a state that recognizes Utah permits. However, it is imperative to thoroughly understand and follow the laws of the states you will be visiting during your travels.
In this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(8) “Autocycle” refers to a vehicle, as defined in Section 53-3-102.
(11) “Camper” is a structure primarily designed, used, and maintained to be mounted on or affixed to a motor vehicle. It includes a floor and is intended to provide mobile dwelling, sleeping accommodations, commercial space, or facilities for human habitation or camping.
(14) “Commercial vehicle” means a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer used or maintained for transporting persons or property that operates:
(a) as a carrier for hire, compensation, or profit; or
(b) as a carrier for transporting the goods or property of the vehicle owner to further their commercial enterprise.
(21) “Electric motor vehicle” refers to a motor vehicle powered exclusively by an electric motor drawing current from a rechargeable energy storage system.
(36) “Manufactured home” is a transportable factory-built housing unit constructed on or after June 15, 1976, in accordance with the Federal Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (HUD Code). It consists of one or more sections, with a width of eight body feet or more in the traveling mode, a length of 40 body feet or more in the traveling mode, or a floor area of 400 square feet or more when erected on-site. It is built on a permanent chassis and is designed to be used as a dwelling, with or without a permanent foundation, when connected to required utilities. This definition includes plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems.
(38) “Mobile home” refers to a transportable factory-built housing unit built prior to June 15, 1976, in accordance with a state mobile home code that existed before the Federal Manufactured Housing and Safety Standards Act (HUD Code).
(40) (a) “Motor vehicle” is a self-propelled vehicle primarily intended for use and operation on highways.
(b) “Motor vehicle” does not include:
(i) an off-highway vehicle; or
(ii) a motor-assisted scooter as defined in Section 41-6a-102.
(42) “Motorcycle” means:
(a) a motor vehicle designed to be ridden by the operator, with a saddle, and capable of traveling on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground; or
(b) an autocycle.
(47) “Off-highway vehicle” has the same meaning as defined in Section 41-22-2.
(51) “Park model recreational vehicle” is a unit:
(a) designed and marketed for temporary living quarters, such as for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use;
(b) not permanently affixed to real property for permanent dwelling purposes;
(c) requiring a special highway movement permit for transportation; and
(d) built on a single chassis mounted on wheels, with a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet when in the setup mode.
(53) (a) “Pickup truck” means a two-axle motor vehicle with motive power that is manufactured, remanufactured, or materially altered to provide an open cargo area.
(b) “Pickup truck” includes a motor vehicle with the open cargo area covered with a camper, camper shell, tarp, removable top, or similar structure.
(60) “Recreational vehicle” has the same meaning as defined in Section 13-14-102.
(79) “Travel trailer,” “camping trailer,” or “fifth wheel trailer” refers to a portable vehicle without motive power, designed as a temporary dwelling for travel, recreation, or vacation use. It does not require a special highway movement permit when towed by a self-propelled motor vehicle.
(81) “Vehicle” includes a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, off-highway vehicle, camper, park model recreational vehicle, manufactured home, and mobile home.
As used in this chapter:
(3)(a) “All-terrain type II vehicle” refers to a motor vehicle that is 80 inches or less in width and travels on four or more low-pressure tires. It has a steering wheel, non-straddle seating, a rollover protection system, and is designed for or capable of travel over unimproved terrain. It can be:
(i) an electric-powered vehicle; or
(ii) a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine with an unladen dry weight of 2,500 pounds or less.
(b) “All-terrain type II vehicle” does not include golf carts, vehicles designed for carrying persons with disabilities, vehicles not specifically designed for recreational use, or farm tractors as defined under Section 41-1a-102.
(4)(a) “All-terrain type III vehicle” refers to any other motor vehicle not defined in Subsection (2), (3), (12), or (22) that is designed for or capable of travel over unimproved terrain.
(b) “All-terrain type III vehicle” does not include golf carts, vehicles designed for carrying persons with disabilities, vehicles not specifically designed for recreational use, or farm tractors as defined under Section 41-1a-102.
(11)(a) “Motor vehicle” refers to every self-propelled vehicle.
(b) “Motor vehicle” includes off-highway vehicles.
(12) “Motorcycle” means any motor vehicle designed to be operated by the operator with a saddle and capable of traveling on not more than two tires.
(14) “Off-highway vehicle” refers to any snowmobile, all-terrain type I vehicle, all-terrain type II vehicle, all-terrain type III vehicle, or motorcycle.
As used in this part:
(16) “Readily accessible for immediate use” indicates that a firearm or any other dangerous weapon is carried either on the person or within close proximity, allowing for quick retrieval and usage as easily as if it were directly carried on the person.
(18) “Securely encased” refers to the state of a firearm or dangerous weapon being not readily accessible for immediate use. This can include being held in a gun rack, stored in a closed case or container (regardless of whether it is locked), or placed in the trunk or another storage compartment of a motor vehicle, excluding the glove box or console box.
76-10-505. Carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle or on public streets.
(1) Unless permitted by law, it is prohibited for a person to carry a loaded firearm:
(a) inside or on a car, except:
(i) when the vehicle is lawfully possessed by the person; or
(ii) when the person carries the loaded firearm in a car with the consent of the lawful possessor of the vehicle;
(b) on a public street; or
(c) in an area where carrying firearms is prohibited and properly posted.
(2) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply to individuals under 18 years of age, as they are prohibited from carrying a loaded firearm inside or on a car.
(3) Despite the provisions of Subsection (1)(a)(i) and (ii), it is unlawful for a person to possess a loaded rifle, shotgun, or muzzle-loading rifle inside a vehicle.
(4) Violation of this section is considered a class B misdemeanor.
76-10-523. Exemptions from weapons laws.
(1) With the exception of Sections 76-10-506, 76-10-508, and 76-10-508.1, the provisions of this part and Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7, Concealed Firearm Act, do not apply to the following individuals:
(a) United States marshals;
(b) Federal officials required to carry firearms;
(c) Peace officers of this jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction;
(d) Law enforcement officials as defined and qualified under Section 53-5-711;
(e) Judges as defined and qualified under Section 53-5-711;
(f) Court commissioners as defined and qualified under Section 53-5-711; or
(g) Common carriers engaged in the regular and ordinary transport of firearms as merchandise.
(2) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), Section 76-10-528 applies to any individual listed in Subsection (1) who is not employed by a state or federal agency or political subdivision that has adopted a policy or rule regarding the use of dangerous weapons.
(3) Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to the following individuals:
(a) Individuals who have been issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm:
(i) pursuant to Section 53-5-704; or
(ii) by another state or county; or
(b) Persons who are issued a protective order under Subsection 78B-7-106(1)(b) or 78B-7-404(1)(b), unless the person is classified as a restricted person as described in Subsection 76-10-503(1), for a period of 120 days following the issuance of the protective order.
(4) Except for Sections 76-10-503, 76-10-506, 76-10-508, and 76-10-508.1, the provisions of this part and Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7, Concealed Firearm Act, do not apply to nonresidents traveling in or through the state, provided that any firearm is:
(a) unloaded; and
(b) securely encased as defined in Section 76-10-501.
(5) Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505(1)(b) do not apply to individuals 21 years of age or older who may lawfully possess a firearm.
18 USC § 926A. Interstate Transportation of Firearms
Regardless of any other laws, rules, or regulations of a State or its subdivisions, an individual who is not prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm has the right to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from a location where they are legally allowed to possess and carry the firearm to another location where they are legally allowed to possess and carry the firearm. During transportation, the firearm must be unloaded, and both the firearm and any accompanying ammunition must be inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If the car does not have a separate compartment from the driver’s area, the firearm or ammunition must be secured in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.