The Criminal Code distinguishes “prohibited weapons” and “restricted weapons” as subclasses of “weapons” generally. Additional weapons-related offence applies to those weapons classified as “prohibited” or “restricted”.
Where a weapon can be quickly and readily converted to an automatic gun, then that weapon must fall within the definition of “prohibited weapon”. However, a gun frame or receiver, inoperable by itself because the selector button was welded to prevent it firing automatically, is not a prohibited weapon, because the modification required to remove the weld required specialized knowledge and considerable effort. When involving a knife that is found to be a prohibited weapon, the crown must also establish that the accused was aware of the feature that makes it a prohibited weapon. Before anything can be a prohibited weapon it must first be established as a weapon.
Prohibited weapons can be:
• Any device designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person by the discharge there from of tear gas, Mace or other gas, or any liquid, spray, powder or other substance that is capable of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person.
• Any instrument or device commonly known as “nunchaku”, being hard non-flexible sticks, clubs, pipes, or rods linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain, and any similar instrument or device.
• Any instrument or device commonly known as “manrikigusari” or “kusari”, being hexagonal or other geometrically shaped hard weights or hand grips linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain, and any similar instrument or device.
• Any finger ring that has one or more blades or sharp objects that are capable of being projected from the surface of the ring.
• Any device that is designed to be capable of injuring, immobilizing or incapacitating a person or an animal by discharging an electrical charge produced by means of the amplification or accumulation of the electrical current generated by a battery, where the device is designed or altered so that the electrical charge may be discharged when the device is of a length of less than 480 mm or bigger, and any similar device.
• A crossbow or similar device that is designed or altered to be aimed and fired by the action of one hand, whether or not it has been redesigned or subsequently altered to be aimed and fired by the action of both hands; or has a length not exceeding 500 mm.
• The device known as the “Constant Companion”, being a belt containing a blade capable of being withdrawn from the belt, with the buckle of the belt forming a handle for the blade, and any similar device.
• Any knife commonly known as a “push-dagger” that is designed in such a fashion that the handle is placed perpendicular to the main cutting edge of the blade and any other similar device other than the aboriginal “ulu” knife.
• Any device having a length of less than 30 cm and resembling an innocuous object but designed to conceal a knife or blade, including the device commonly known as the “knife-comb”, being a comb with the handle of the comb forming a handle for the knife, and any similar device.
• The device commonly known as a “Spiked Wristband”, being a wristband to which a spike or blade is affixed, and any similar device.
• The device commonly known as a “Kiyoga Baton” or “Steel Cobra” and any similar device consisting of a manually triggered telescoping spring-loaded steel whip terminated in a heavy caliber striking tip.
• The device commonly known as a “Morning Star” and any similar device consisting of a ball of metal or other heavy material studded with spikes and connected to a handle by a length of chain, rope or other flexible material.
The device known as “Brass Knuckles” and any similar device consisting of a band of metal with one or more finger holes designed to fit over the fingers of the hand.
Prohibited guns can be possessed by licensed owners who acquired them prior to the current laws. Prohibited firearms include:
• Automatic weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns
• Handguns under a specific length
• Handguns that fire 25- or 32-calibre bullets.
Restricted guns and its ammunition can be possessed or acquired by those who have a license and the gun must be registered. This category includes:
• Any non-prohibited handgun
• Any gun that can be fired when folded below a specific length
• Any semi-automatic gun with a barrel shorter than 470 mm and capacity for shooting centrefire bullets.
“Semi-Automatic Automatic”: a firearm that is equipped with a mechanism that, following the discharge of the cartridge, automatically operates to complete any part of the reloading cycle necessary to prepare for the discharge of the next cartridge. Certain weapons can be adapted to be both semi-automatic and fully automatic.
An inoperable gun can be a firearm if it can be fixed into operating order in a relatively short period of time and with relative ease .Likewise, if there is at least some evidence indicating or inferring that the alleged firearm, because of a defect or inadequacy, is incapable of being fired, then it is not a firearm.
Whether something can be adapted for use as a firearm depends on the amount, nature and time spent adapting the device. Certain devices such as pellet guns can be found to be a firearm where it is “used or intended to be used for a dangerous purpose”.
“Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use.
Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms
• The transferring or possession of machine guns is prohibited
• No persons under the age of 18 is permitted to possess a fully automatic weapon including machine guns
• Any machine guns manufactured before May 1986 is prohibited
Highly Restricted Types of Firearms
First, there are some types of guns most civilian Americans simply cannot legally own. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) greatly restricts the ownership or sale of machine guns (fully automatic rifles or pistols), short-barreled (sawed-off) shotguns, and silencers. Owners of these types of devices must undergo deep FBI background checks and register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ NFA registry. In addition, some states, like California and New York, have enacted laws completely banning private citizens from possessing these NFA-regulated firearms or devices.
How do I get a Possession and Acquisition License for restricted firearms in Utah?
You must be 18 years old to get a full Possession and Acquisition License for restricted firearms but is allowed if under the “direct and immediate supervision” of an adult who has a license. A firearms license and registration certificate must be available when carrying restricted firearms. If stopped by a peace officer, you must be able to present them or your gun can be seized. Ownership and possession both require a license. Therefore, even if you do not own a restricted firearm, but are in possession of one – a license is needed.
Permitted purposes for ownership
There are a few purposes for which you may be licensed to acquire or possess a restricted firearm:
• target practice or target shooting competitions
• as part of a collection
• in limited circumstances, use in connection with one’s lawful profession or occupation, or to protect life
Employment purposes and protection of life
In limited circumstances, an individual may be authorized to possess or acquire a restricted firearm for employment purposes or for protection of life.
Target shooting practice and competition
To be authorized to have restricted firearms for target shooting purposes, you must provide proof that you practice or compete at an approved shooting club or range.
PENALTIES FOR FIRST TIME WEAPON POSSESSION IN UTAH
Utah has various laws that deal with the illegal possession of guns and other dangerous weapons. A weapon possession offense can involve several different circumstances. Some laws address individuals who cannot possess a weapon, and others address the right to carry a firearm in certain areas.
Utah Weapon Possession Laws
If you plan to own a gun in Utah, you should ensure that you are not restricted from owning a firearm. There are two categories of people that are being restricted from owning guns in Utah: Category I and Category II “restricted persons.” You are considered a Category I restricted person if you meet any of the following criteria:
• You were convicted for any violent felony.
• You are currently on probation for committing a felony.
• You are on parole from a detention center.
• You committed a violent offense as a minor within the last 10 years.
• You are in the United States illegally.
• You are on probation for committing an offense involving a controlled substance.
A Category II restricted person is an individual who meets any of the following criteria:
• You were convicted of any felony.
• You committed an offense as a minor in the last seven years that would have been a felony if the offender was an adult.
• You used controlled substances without a prescription.
• You were judged insane during a felony hearing.
• You were judged mentally incompetent during a felony hearing.
• You possessed a Schedule I or Schedule II drug (g., marijuana, heroin).
• You were dishonorably discharged from the military.
• You were convicted of domestic violence against a spouse.
There are also other circumstances not listed above that may disqualify you from owning a gun in Utah. Outside of the restricted list of individuals who cannot own a gun, Utah also has various other gun and dangerous weapons laws that you should know about. A dangerous weapon is defined as an object that may cause death or serious injury depending on how it is used. The main offenses in Utah involving possession of a weapon are split into a few categories:
• Carrying a concealed weapon – If you illegally carry a concealed weapon in public, you can be charged with a class B misdemeanor. This law also applies to unloaded firearms. If the concealed weapon was a loaded firearm, the charge could be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor.
• Possessing a gun in unauthorized areas – Under some circumstances, it can be illegal to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle, on a public street, or in an area that has signs prohibiting firearms. This offense is a class B misdemeanor.
• Carrying a dangerous weapon with the intention of committing a crime – If you are carrying a dangerous weapon because you intend to commit a crime with it, you may be convicted of a class A misdemeanor.
What are the Consequences for First Time Gun Possession Crime
The penalties for first-time weapon possession will vary depending on the offense you are charged with. If you are a Category I restricted person, and you own a firearm, you can be charged with a second degree felony. If you are a restricted person and own a dangerous weapon that is not a gun, you can be convicted of a third degree felony. In Utah, second degree felonies carry a possible prison term of up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in criminal fines. Third degree felonies carry a prison term of up to five years and $5,000 in fines.
Category II restricted individuals who possess a firearm can be convicted of a third degree felony or a class A misdemeanor for possessing a dangerous weapon. Class A misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.The other three offenses listed above – carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a gun in certain areas, or carrying a weapon to commit a crime – are charged as class A or B misdemeanors for first-time offenses. It is important to note that carrying modified weapons like a sawed-off shotgun can result in being charged with a second degree felony.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
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!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506