If you bring up the topic of guns, gun charges or gun possession anywhere today, you’re likely to spark an emotional debate.
As the rhetoric surrounding firearms grows, so does the risk of being charged for having or carrying a firearm. While Utah’s gun laws provide for the open carry of firearms, our state statues don’t necessarily provide free rein for gun owners.
The Basics of Utah’s Gun Laws
Utah is generally recognized as being one of the best U.S. states for gun owners, thanks to the limited restrictions.
As an open carry state, the citizens of Utah have the right to carry a firearm of any type, as long as it is unloaded and not concealed. No registration or permit to purchase a firearm is required, nor are gun owners required to be licensed.
You must, however, have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. If you conceal a weapon and you don’t have a permit, you run the risk of facing gun charges.
Who Cannot Carry a Gun in Utah?
You are restricted from carrying a firearm in Utah if you have ever been convicted of a felony. This also applies if you, as a juvenile, were adjudicated delinquent for a crime that would carry violent felony charges for an adult.
You cannot carry a gun if you were dishonorably discharged from the military, if you have been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial or committed to a mental institution, if you have renounced your U.S citizenship or if you are in the United States illegally.
You also may not carry a firearm if you have been convicted of a crime involving alcohol, controlled substances or domestic violence. If you are found to be in possession of a firearm and a scheduled or controlled substance at the same time, you will face gun charges. The same holds true if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Use Caution to Avoid Utah Gun Charges
Although you can legally carry firearms in the open, our society is sensitive about this issue today. Even if you aren’t violating the law, openly carrying a firearm into a public place is likely to cause a stir.
(You may remember the incident of this man and his semi-automatic rifle in a Utah department store.)
Although you may not face gun charges, you may be apprehended and detained by law enforcement until officers can determine that you do not pose a threat.
If you do carry a firearm, know and understand all Utah gun laws. Know the details of when and where you are allowed to carry your weapon, even if you have a concealed carry permit. A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to avoiding gun charges.
If you find yourself facing gun charges, contact the Law Offices of White & Matern, PLLC immediately. Our law firm has an impressive track record of defending our clients against both state and federal gun charges, including carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and firing a gun within city limits.
We have three convenient Salt Lake City area locations to serve you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Don’t risk the significant fines or jail time you may face if you are found guilty of Utah gun charges.