There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual. Although the state has pre-emption, Salt Lake County has established a policy that background checks for private sales in the counties three event facilities (Salt Palace Convention Centre, Mountain America Expo Centre and Salt Lake County Equestrian Park).
Open carry is legal in Utah if you have a concealed carry permit. The minimum age is 18 years old. Without a permit, you can only open carry a handgun if it is unloaded and at least two actions from being fired (e.g., rack the slide to chamber, then pull the trigger).
Concealed carry is legal with a license/permit. The minimum age is at least 21 years of age or 18 for a provisional permit. Utah Concealed Firearm Permits (CFP) are issued to residents and non-residents who meet the requirements. Some areas are off-limits, including courthouses and secured areas of airports. Concealed carry permits require a firearms familiarity course that has been certified by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). In terms of reciprocity, Utah will honour all other state or county permits. Utah is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your grounds” law. The person using deadly force in defense of personal or real property is presumed for the purpose of both civil and criminal cases to have acted reasonably and to have had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury if the trespass or attempted trespass is unlawful and is made or attempted by use of force, or in a violent and tumultuous manner or for the purpose of committing a forcible felony. There is no duty to retreat if a person feels deadly force is justified to prevent a felony from being committed. The law applies in defense of real property or personal property at a person’s residence or any place where a person has a legal right to be.
Subject to limited exceptions, Utah law generally prevents individuals from enforcing restrictions on an individual’s ability to transport or store a firearm in a vehicle on any property designated for motor vehicle parking, if:
• The individual is legally permitted to transport, possess, purchase, receive, transfer or store the firearm;
• 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
• The firearm is not in plain view from the outside of the motor vehicle.
Notice that firearms are prohibited may be given by:
• Personal communication to the actor by the church or organization or a person with authority to act for the person or entity;
• Posting of signs reasonably likely to come to the attention of persons entering the house of worship or private residence;
• Announcement by a person with authority to act for the church or organization operating the house of worship in a regular congregational meeting in the house of worship;
• Publication in a bulletin, newsletter, worship program or similar document generally circulated or available to the members of the congregation regularly meeting in the house of worship; or
• Publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the house of worship is located or if the church or organization operating the house of worship has its principal office in this state.
Utah gun laws are regarded as permissive however a permit is still required to carry a concealed firearm. Permits are issued to residents and non-residents who are 21 or older, have completed a firearms training course and meet other criteria. There is a provisional permit available for persons aged between 18-21. Applications are processed at the state level by the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Open carry of unloaded firearms is legal without a permit. Utah allows for open carry of unloaded firearms without a concealed firearm permit. “Unloaded” as it applies here, means that there is no round in the firing position (or chamber), and the firearm is at least two “mechanical actions” from firing. As carrying the firearm with the chamber empty, but with a full magazine, meets this definition (the handler must chamber a round, and then pull the trigger), this is a common work around for Utah residents who do not wish to acquire a permit. Without the permit, the firearm must be clearly visible. Utah requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm. With a permit, a person may carry a firearm with a loaded chamber either openly or concealed. Utah will honour a permit issued by any state or county. Utah does not require concealed carry permit holders to notify police officers of their permit or possession of firearms when stopped by police officers, but the state Bureau of Criminal Identification recommends doing so “for the safety of all involved” and to give the officer “some assurance they are most likely dealing with a law abiding citizen.” Utah law allows for a “Non-Resident” Concealed Firearm Permits to be issued. The Utah Concealed Firearm Permit is valid in thirty-four states across the US. However there are several states that have passed statutes that do not honour a “Non-Resident” permit. For example, Colorado will honour Utah’s permit, but the permittee must be a resident of Utah for his permit to be valid. Utah concealed firearm permits are “shall issue” and will be issued to anyone meeting the requirements. Utah is a “Castle Doctrine” state, in which there is no duty to retreat before use of deadly force, if the person reasonably believes that a perpetrator is going to commit a forcible felony in the habitation, and that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony. Since burglary is itself a forcible felony, it is legal to use deadly force to stop a burglar. In Utah a person may carry firearms in some places not allowed by some other states, including banks, bars, public universities, and state parks. With a permit, you may also carry in schools (K-12). Utah’s Uniform Firearm Laws expressly prohibits public schools from enacting or enforcing any rule pertaining to firearms. Utah requires public schools to allow lawful firearms possession.
Buying, selling and owning firearms
Private sales of Guns
Private sales of firearms are legal in Utah to anyone over the age of 18 UCA 76-10-S509.9. Online classified websites are a common meeting place for buyers and sellers. One highly utilized internet site was the classified advertising section of news station KSL-TV. However, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, KSL temporarily disallowed sales or advertising of firearms. KSL has yet to rescind their stance.
There are two categories of persons who may not possess firearms or dangerous weapons under Utah law. Penalties for weapons possession by category I restricted persons are more severe than the penalties for possession by category II restricted persons.
Category I covers persons who have “been convicted of any violent felony” or are “on probation or parole for any felony” or have been “within the last 10 years an adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony”. Under Utah law, “A Category I restricted person who intentionally or knowingly agrees, consents, offers, or arranges to purchase, transfer, possess, use, or have under his custody or control, or who intentionally or knowingly purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under his custody or control any firearm is guilty of a second degree felony.”
Category II covers persons who have “been convicted of or are under indictment for any felony” or have “within the last seven years been an adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a felony” or are “an unlawful user of a controlled substance” or have “been found not guilty by reason of insanity for a felony offense” or have “been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for a felony offense” or have “been adjudicated as mentally defective as provided in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act” or are “an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States” or have “has been dishonourably discharged from the armed forces” or have “renounced his citizenship after having been a citizen of the States”. A Category II restricted person who purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under his custody or control any firearm is guilty of a third degree felony under Utah law.
Under Utah state law, “Any person who transfers in violation of applicable state or federal law a sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun, or fully automatic weapon to a minor is guilty of a third degree felony.” Utah is a shall issue state for permits for the concealed carry of firearms. Utah law states “The bureau shall issue a permit to carry a concealed firearm for lawful self defense to an applicant who is 21 years of age or older within 60 days after receiving an application, unless the bureau finds proof that the applicant does not meet the qualifications set forth”. Permits are issued to both Utah residents and non residents. Applicants between 18 and 20 may obtain a provisional permit. Persons convicted of a felony, any crime of violence, any offense involving alcohol, any offense involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances, any offense involving moral turpitude, any offense involving domestic violence, or persons found by any court to be mentally incompetent are automatically barred from being issued a permit. Any person barred by state or federal law from possessing a firearm may not be issued a permit. Additionally, “The bureau may deny, suspend, or revoke a concealed firearm permit if it has reasonable cause to believe that the applicant or permit holder has been or is a danger to self or others as demonstrated by evidence”. Examples of such evidence include “past pattern of behaviour involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence” or “past participation in incidents involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence”. In determining whether the applicant or permit holder has been or is a danger to self or others, the bureau may inspect expunged records of arrests and convictions of adults, and juvenile court records. However, Utah law also states that “The bureau may not deny, suspend, or revoke a concealed firearm permit solely for a single conviction for an infraction violation of Title 76, Chapter 10, Part 5, Weapons”. Permit holders may appeal a permit suspension, denial or revocation. Utah law states that “In the event of a denial, suspension, or revocation of a permit, the applicant or permit holder may file a petition for review with the board within 60 days from the date the denial, suspension, or revocation is received by the applicant or permit holder”.
Restrictions of concealed carry
Even with a carry permit, carrying a concealed firearm is not allowed in any church that notifies the State of Utah and makes public notice. A church must, by state law, make annual notice of this intent to prohibit firearms from their “houses of worship”. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prohibits the carrying of firearms in its “houses of worship”; they have current notice posted on the Utah Department of Public Safety’s website. Prohibition of firearms from “houses of worship” does not necessarily include all property owned by the church. However, firearms are prohibited at all Church-owned colleges (LDS Business College and Brigham Young University) and office buildings. Church campsites also prohibit weapons.
Penalties for concealed carrying without permit
Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is a class B misdemeanour if the firearm is unloaded (No round in the chamber), and is a class A misdemeanour if the firearm is loaded (Has a round in the chamber). A person who carries concealed a sawed-off shotgun or a sawed-off rifle is guilty of a second degree felony under Utah law. If an unlawfully carried concealed firearm is used in the commission of a violent felony, and the person is a party to the offense, the person is guilty of a second degree felony.
Concealed carry on private property
Any person eligible to possess a firearm may carry that firearm, either concealed or unconcealed, in their own home or property, or on any private property with the consent of the property owner. Utah law allows concealed firearm permit holders (CFP), including teachers with a CFP, to carry a concealed firearm on any public school premises.
Specific crimes with firearms
Carrying a firearm with the intent to unlawfully assault another is a class A misdemeanour under Utah law. Drawing or exhibiting a firearm in an angry and threatening manner, or unlawfully using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel in the presence of two or more persons is a class A misdemeanour. This law does not apply when firearms are properly used in self-defense. Negligently discharging a firearm in a manner that disturbs the peace or could damage or harm public or private property is a class B misdemeanour. Discharging a firearm in a manner that significantly endangers any person, or discharging a firearm into any habitable structure is third degree felony. If bodily injury to any person results from such negligent discharge, the offense can be elevated/enhanced to a second or first degree felony, depending upon the severity of the bodily injury or harm caused by the negligent discharge. Any person who carries a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Right to keep and bear arms in state constitution
Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution of the State of Utah provides that: “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.”
How do I Apply for a Concealed Firearm Permit?
Where to Apply: Bureau of Criminal Identification. Applications will be accepted through the mail or in person, from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm at the above location.
The fees to apply for a concealed firearm permit are $53.25 for Utah residents and $63.25 for non-residents. Please make checks and money orders payable to the “Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification.”
Who is Eligible?
• Minimum requirements for application for a concealed firearms permit in Utah are:
• Applicant must be at least 21 years of age for the standard permit; at least 18 years of age for the provisional permit
• Proof of good character…whereas the applicant;
• has not been convicted of a felony;
• has not been convicted of any crime of violence;
• has not been convicted of any offense involving the use of alcohol;
• has not been convicted of any offenses involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances;
• has not been convicted of any offenses involving moral turpitude;
• has not been convicted of any offense involving domestic violence;
• has not been adjudicated by a court of a state or of the United States as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed
• is qualified to purchase and possess a firearm pursuant to Section 76-10-503 and federal law
• A Photocopy of your state issued Driver License
• Photograph. Photos may be taken at the Bureau of Criminal Identification for a $15 fee.
• Non-resident proof of permit. If you reside in a state that recognizes the validity of the Utah CFP or has reciprocity with Utah, you must obtain a CFP or CCW from your home state and submit a copy of it with your application for a Utah permit. You are considered a resident of whichever state issued your ID. If your state does not recognize the Utah permit this does not apply.
• Fingerprint Card. One fingerprint card. Must be filled out completely. Writing and prints must be legible. Fingerprint should be taken by a trained fingerprint technician. Fingerprint cards that are not legible will be returned to the applicant and will cause a delay in processing the application.
• Weapon Familiarity Certification. Applicants must complete a firearms familiarity course certified by BCI. No exceptions. The course must be completed before you apply for a permit. Please have your instructor complete the certification information on the application.
When you need a Utah Gun Attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC 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
Restricted And Prohibited Weapons