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Gun Ownership Legal Concerns

Gun Ownership Legal Concerns

Owning a gun is a risk. There’s no way to sugar coat it. This is particularly true for suicides. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “a gun stored in the home is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of homicide and a fivefold increase in the risk of suicide”. Suicide is considered to be an impulsive action, so easy access to a gun increases the likelihood and the fatality of suicides. The numbers show that most firearm suicides are fatal, whereas the same is not true when suicide is attempted by other means. Guns can kill you in three ways: homicide, suicide, and by accident. Owning a gun or having one readily accessible makes all three more likely.

Firearms Responsibility in The Home

As a firearms owner, you are responsible for knowing how to properly handle your firearms and how to secure your firearms in a safe manner in your home.

Safe Storage Of Guns In Utah

Safe storage laws promote responsible gun-owning practices by requiring gun owners to store their firearms unloaded and locked when unattended. These laws are intended to help prevent unauthorized users, including children, from accessing and using firearms, which can reduce tragedies due to suicide, unintentional discharges, and gun theft. Safe gun storage refers to practices that limit accessibility to guns by unauthorized users, including minors and thieves. These practices can include locking guns in a secure place such as a gun safe or cabinet or using safety devices such as trigger or cable locks. The most secure way to store firearms, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is to store them unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.


• Always store ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms and out of the reach of children.
• Always make absolutely sure that firearms in your home are securely stored out of the reach of children and other unauthorized persons.
• Unloaded firearms can be secured with a firearm locking device to make them inoperable.
• Unloaded firearms also can be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, firearm vault or storage case.
• Always clean and place firearms in their proper storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
• Always re-check firearms carefully and completely to be sure that they are still unloaded when you remove them from storage.
• Accidents have occurred when a family member has borrowed or loaned a firearm and returned it to storage while it was still loaded.
• You are responsible for making certain the firearms in your home are not casually accessible to anyone especially curious young people.


This can be prevented simply by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location. When these firearms are not being used, they must be safely and securely stored. This is where firearms responsibility in the home begins and ends. Options to help you safely store your firearms include:
• A firearm locking device is intended only to deter access to a firearm by unauthorized persons, particularly children.
• A firearm locking device is not intended to withstand forced entry by someone determined to defeat the lock by using tools or other aggressive means.

• A firearm locking device should be considered as only one element of a safe storage program for firearms.
• Check municipal, county, state and federal law for any requirements about safe storage of firearms and ammunition, as well as requirements about having loaded firearms and the discharge of firearms in your community.

What Are The Causes of Firearm Accidents?

Unintentional shootings rank among the leading causes of gun deaths.
Lack of Training
Firearms safety courses are vital in teaching gun owners how to safely use their gun. Gun owners who did not undergo proper training are more likely to injure or kill someone in an accidental shooting than those who did.
Drugs and Alcohol
Accidents happen more often when people show off or play with guns, especially while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Manufacturer Error
Not all guns are designed and manufactured correctly. If a weapon discharges on account of poor design or a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for the damage that occurs. Unintentional shootings rank among the leading causes of gun deaths.
Lack of Parental Guidance
When a child gets hold of a gun, the parent may be found legally responsible for failing to keep it in a secure place.
Safe And Secure Storage Options
Firearm Safe Cable Lock Box: Always make absolutely sure that firearms in your home are securely stored and inaccessible to children. This is the no. 1 way to help prevent firearms accidents. Securely storing firearms when not in use in the firearm case electronic lock box at home and the decision to maintain a firearm in the home for self-protection is a serious, personal matter. Any added safety benefit gained from owning a firearm depends in large measure on the owner’s having appropriate training and clear understanding of safe handling and storage rules. Factors such as individual temperament, reaction to emergency situations, specific family circumstances and support for your having a firearm in the home from other adults in the household must be considered. If you feel the need for quick access to a loaded firearm in your home, you must take special safety measures. Keeping a firearm to defend your family makes no sense if that same firearm puts family members or visitors to your home at risk. In keeping a firearm for home security, your objective should be to have the firearm readily available to you, yet not accessible to others. Special lockable cases that can Your home will be as safe as you choose to make it.


Your most important responsibility is ensuring that children cannot encounter loaded firearms. The precautions you take must be effective. Anything less invites tragedy and is a serious violation of your responsibility as a firearm owner. responsible: be quickly opened by authorized individuals are options to consider. You must exercise full control and supervision over a loaded firearm at all times. This means the firearm must be unloaded and placed in secure storage whenever you leave your home. Secure ammunition separately. Fatal home firearms accidents can occur when children discover firearms that adults thought were safely hidden or out of reach. Deterring access by firearms owners who live with a person who is at-risk or legally prohibited from possessing a firearm may wish to consider upgrading their storage levels to better meet their safe-storage responsibilities. You must be absolutely certain that no firearm can be accessed by an at-risk or prohibited person. Simply hiding a firearm is not secure storage and poses a risk. Persons considered to be at-risk may include those with symptoms or history of treatment for mental illness, increasing patterns of alcohol/ substance abuse, isolation or violent behaviors, or recent experience with a major life event— such as divorce, job loss or financial trouble. It also can be someone who you, the firearms owner, have good reason to believe is likely to do harm to themselves or others. A person is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm if he or she is a convicted felon, fugitive from justice, unlawful user of any controlled substance, illegal alien, dishonorably discharged from the military, subject to a court restraining order, has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, has renounced U.S. citizenship, or who has been deemed mentally incompetent (“a mental defective”) by a court or involuntarily hospitalized for psychiatric care. In this situation, consider storing firearms not in use in a locked gun safe or other appropriate security device that is resistant to tampering by an adult. If for any reason you as a firearms owner feel uncomfortable with or are unable to accept these safe storage responsibilities given the circumstance of having an at-risk or prohibited person living with you, we strongly urge you not to own a firearm. Temporary off-site storage is an option. Such storage can be effective; for example, if an individual living with you is in emotional crisis or exhibits significant behavior change. Friends who are gun owners might offer storage. Your local firearms retailer may know of options for off-site firearms storage in your area. Secure storage options for gun owners living with at-risk or prohibited persons include a locked gun safe, gun cabinet, lock box or storage case. For added security, portable storage devices can be secured to a wall or the floor, or both, to prevent removal. In addition to locked storage, unloaded firearms can be secured with a gun-locking device that renders the firearm inoperable. Firearms can also be disassembled, with parts securely stored in separate locations. Firearms kept for security reasons are fully controlled at all times. Firearms are securely stored in a location inaccessible to children and other unauthorized persons. Sporting firearms are unloaded before they are brought into the home and never loaded while in the home. Sporting firearms are immediately cleaned and placed in secure storage when they are returned from hunting or target shooting. When firearms are removed from storage, they are always carefully checked to confirm that they are unloaded. Ammunition is stored under lock and key, separately from firearms. The owner’s manual that came with the firearm must be read and understood. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your fingers off the trigger. Don’t rely on your firearm’s “safety” device. Keep the firearm unloaded when not in use. All members of the household must understand and follow the requirements of Firearms Responsibility in The Home.

Loss of Firearms

A lost firearm is simply that: lost. You may have left it behind at the range or it fell out of your boat when you were out fishing, or you simply can’t find it in the attic where you know for sure that you left it. A stolen firearm means that the gun owner has been a victim of theft. Someone broke into your house or into your car and stole your firearm. From a legal liability perspective, there is no difference between firearms that is lost versus stolen.

How to prevent the loss of a firearm?

• Buy a good CCW holster: People don’t think about dropping money on a high performance compact concealed carry firearm but they’ll balk at buying a concealed carry holster.
• Retention: Being accountable for your firearm at all times means knowing it’s fixed to your waistband, or secured in a shoulder holster, ankle holster or in a pocket holster. Whether you decide to open carry and go with an outside the waistband holster or carry concealed within the waistband, you need to know your firearm is going to stay put.
• Keep the Bill of Sale separate from the firearm: If a firearm gets stolen, the last thing you want going with it is the legal bill of sale. That’s the proof it’s your firearm. Keep that separate in a safe, secure location.
• Take pictures of the serialized portions of the firearm: Particularly, take pictures of the upper receiver and lower receiver (if a pistol). This is ground zero proof that this weapon, alongside your bill of sale, was indeed your weapon. If it comes time to recover it, you have that evidence. If you have to report the loss of this weapon, it’s also proof for the police that this weapon is indeed out of your custody.
• Keep unused concealed carry weapons in a gun safe: Yes, a gun safe can be crated out by a dolly. It has happened. However, it’s far less convenient to wheel a stolen gun safe off into the night than it is to haul a bunch of firearms. Don’t make a thief’s job easy – use a gun safe. This is just a great idea for keeping weapons out of the hands of unwanted parties.
• Licensing: Gun licensing has been proven to reduce gun violence and trafficking, and it remains a necessary component to crafting comprehensive, lifesaving gun laws. Licensing laws are an effective way to make sure guns are only purchased and used by responsible Americans, and yet just a handful of states have these laws in place. Licensing laws ensure that gun owners have passed a background check before they purchase a gun. In contrast to states which require a background check at the point of sale of a firearm, licensing laws typically require an in-person application at law enforcement agencies, which provides an additional safeguard against fraud or inaccuracies that could allow dangerous individuals to obtain guns. Licensing laws that require periodic renewal can also reduce gun crimes by helping law enforcement confirm that a gun owner remains eligible to possess firearms and facilitating the removal of firearms from people who become ineligible. Furthermore, licensing laws can help to empower safe and responsible gun ownership. Many states will only issue or renew license after an applicant has completed a safety training course and firearm safety tests showing that the applicant knows relevant gun laws and how to safely load, fire, and store a gun.

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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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