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Thread: Utah Open Carry Age limit?

  1. #1
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    Info on the site is inconsistent. The map that purports to give age restrictions shows Utah as minimum age of 21 to open carry, but when the state is 'clicked' on via the cursor, it says that there is no statutory age limit at all. I want know how old my daughters have to be for me to let them carry.

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    I clicked on the map seems to me that the age would be 21 since utah is a license opencarry state.

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    I don't know much for I am not from Utah, but I believe that at 18 w/o a permit one can open carry in most places in Utah "two-actions from firing." For a semi-auto, an empty chamber would fill this requirement since one would have to rack the slide and then pull the trigger.

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    MuellerBadener wrote:
    Info on the site is inconsistent. The map that purports to give age restrictions shows Utah as minimum age of 21 to open carry, but when the state is 'clicked' on via the cursor, it says that there is no statutory age limit at all. I want know how old my daughters have to be for me to let them carry.
    MuellerBadener,

    The best place to start looking for answers to any firearms related questions you might have about UT is the Utah Code (specifically, the Utah Criminal Code - Title 76):

    http://www.le.state.ut.us/~code/code.htm

    First off, UC 76-10-509.4 prohibits minors under the age of 18 from possessing "handguns":

    76-10-509.4. Prohibition of possession of certain weapons by minors.
    (1) A minor under 18 years of age may not possess a handgun.
    (2) Except as provided by federal law, a minor under 18 years of age may not possess the following:
    (a) a sawed-off rifle or sawed-off shotgun; or
    (b) a fully automatic weapon.
    (3) Any person who violates Subsection (1) is guilty of:
    (a) a class B misdemeanor upon the first offense; and
    (b) a class A misdemeanor for each subsequent offense.
    (4) Any person who violates Subsection (2) is guilty of a third degree felony.

    A "handgun" is defined under UC 76-10-501(12)(a) as "a pistol, revolver, or other firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged, the length of which, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches."

    I presume that your interest is in having your daughters OC handguns and not long guns. Therefore, they may not legally possess any pistol/revolver if they are under the age of 18 (certain exceptions apply - see UC 76-10-512). Furthermore, it would be a crime for you to furnish any such arms to them under UC 76-10-509.5:

    76-10-509.5. Penalties for providing certain weapons to a minor.
    (1) Any person who provides a handgun to a minor when the possession of the handgun by the minor is a violation of Section 76-10-509.4 is guilty of:
    (a) a class B misdemeanor upon the first offense; and
    (b) a class A misdemeanor for each subsequent offense.
    (2) 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.

    If your daughters are over the age of 18, then they may OC an "unloaded firearm." They may not carry a "loaded firearm" as per UC 76-10-505 without a permit to carry a concealed weapon:

    76-10-505. Carrying loaded firearm in vehicle or on street.
    (1) Unless otherwise authorized by law, a person may not carry a loaded firearm:
    (a) in or on a vehicle;
    (b) on any public street; or
    (c) in a posted prohibited area.
    (2) A violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor.

    A "loaded firearm" is defined under UC 76-10-502:

    76-10-502. When weapon deemed loaded.
    (1) For the purpose of this chapter, any pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon described in this part shall be deemed to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.
    (2) Pistols and revolvers shall also be deemed to be loaded when an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile to be fired.
    (3) A muzzle loading firearm shall be deemed to be loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinders.

    Therefore, a person over the age of 18 may OC a firearm which is at least two actions from firing (i.e., "unloaded" - without a round in the chamber). In order to OC a loaded firearm, one must first obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon as per UC 53-5-704. A permit allows a person to carry a loaded firearm under UC 76-10-523(2). Since one of the requirements for the permit is that the applicant be over the age of 21, your daughters will not have the ability to OC a loaded firearm until they are over 21 and obtain a permit.

    So, to sum all of this up - the following age limits apply in UT:
    18+ = UOC (unloaded open carry)
    21+ (w/ permit) = OC (loaded open carry)

    I hope all of this helps…

    - Mike S.


  5. #5
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    I would like to add one thing. Utah will recognize a permit issued by any state or county. So if you are 18, and have a permit, you can carry loaded.

    I sent an update to John, to fix the Utah info page, but it is not complete yet.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    That answered my question quite thoroughly, Thanks.

    Your answer creates another question though. My daughters are under 18.

    Does that mean that I cannot allow them to shoot my pistols at the range?

    They do it all the time and no one has ever said anything about it, but as we all know, all it takes is one zealot to make a stink.

  7. #7
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    Possession of a handgun at a range is legal in Utah. I am assuming you live in Utah? If so, have you been to the Utah sub-forum?

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum52/

    76-10-512. Target concessions, shooting ranges, competitions, and hunting excepted from prohibitions.

    The provisions of Section 76-10-509 and Subsection 76-10-509.4(1) regarding possession of handguns by minors shall not apply to any of the following:
    (1) Patrons firing at lawfully operated target concessions at amusement parks, piers, and similar locations provided that the firearms to be used are firmly chained or affixed to the counters.
    (2) Any person in attendance at a hunter's safety course or a firearms safety course.
    (3) Any person engaging in practice or any other lawful use of a firearm at an established range or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited by state or local law.
    (4) Any person engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm, or participating in or practicing for such competition.
    (5) Any minor under 18 years of age who is on real property with the permission of the owner, licensee, or lessee of the property and who has the permission of a parent or legal guardian or the owner, licensee, or lessee to possess a firearm not otherwise in violation of law.
    (6) Any resident or nonresident hunters with a valid hunting license or other persons who are lawfully engaged in hunting.
    (7) Any person traveling to or from any activity described in Subsection (2), (3), (4), (5), or (6) with an unloaded firearm in his possession.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

  8. #8
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    I"m new on site. I do live in the southern part of the Salt Lake area. My wife and I have been to a couple of the Open-carry dinners. (Went to our second one last Saturday-Were you the gentleman in attendance in effigy?)

  9. #9
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    If you are talking about the cardboard cut-out, that was me.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

  10. #10
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    MuellerBadener,

    Since your daughters are under the age of 18 and are not allowed to possess handguns, you might want to provide them with other carry options to protect themselves (e.g., knife, taser, mace, baton, etc.). However, you should be aware that this gets into more of a "gray area" under the law.

    The UT legislature has reserved to the state all authority to regulate firearms and provide for uniform firearms laws under UC 53-5a-102 and UC 76-10-500. This preempts any ability for counties or municipalities to regulate firearms. The same preemption protections do not apply to other "dangerous weapons." There might be municipal codes which prevent minors from possessing/carrying such weapons.

    Furthermore, exactly what constitutes a "dangerous weapon" is somewhat ambiguous under the law - UC 76-10-501(5):

    (5) (a) "Dangerous weapon" means any item that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. The following factors shall be used in determining whether a knife, or any other item, object, or thing not commonly known as a dangerous weapon is a dangerous weapon:
    (i) the character of the instrument, object, or thing;
    (ii) the character of the wound produced, if any;
    (iii) the manner in which the instrument, object, or thing was used; and
    (iv) the other lawful purposes for which the instrument, object, or thing may be used.
    (b) "Dangerous weapon" does not include any explosive, chemical, or incendiary device as defined by Section 76-10-306.

    For the most part, minors are allowed to possess dangerous weapons under state law - UC 76-10-509:

    76-10-509. Possession of dangerous weapon by minor.
    (1) A minor under 18 years of age may not possess a dangerous weapon unless he:
    (a) has the permission of his parent or guardian to have the weapon; or
    (b) is accompanied by a parent or guardian while he has the weapon in his possession.
    (2) Any minor under 14 years of age in possession of a dangerous weapon shall be accompanied by a responsible adult.
    (3) Any person who violates this section is guilty of:
    (a) a class B misdemeanor upon the first offense; and
    (b) a class A misdemeanor for each subsequent offense.

    So, if your daughters are between the ages of 14-18, they may carry dangerous weapons without you present, but they will still need your permission. They should carry a letter signed by you expressly citing the above section of UC and stating that they have your permission to carry. Please note that there are some places which are definitely off limits while carrying these weapons (primarily, school grounds - UC 76-10-505.5). In addition, while OCing such items is one thing, CCing dangerous weapons is another story - UC 76-10-504(1)(a):

    76-10-504. Carrying concealed dangerous weapon -- Penalties.
    (1) Except as provided in Section 76-10-503 and in Subsections (2) and (3):
    (a) a person who carries a concealed dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 76-10-501, which is not a firearm on his person or one that is readily accessible for immediate use which is not securely encased, as defined in this part, in a place other than his residence, property, or business under his control is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

    Without a UT permit to carry a concealed firearm, your daughters MAY NOT conceal carry any other dangerous weapons. You should check with a local attorney and your police department to determine if a pocket knife, taser, mace, baton, etc. would be considered a "dangerous weapon" which they could not carry concealed.

    Here in AZ, there's basically no restriction on what a person may carry with a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). I personally prefer to carry a C2 Taser, Fox Labs "Mean Green" pepper spray, and a good quality pocket knife along with my firearm. An ASP 21" baton is also a nice option.

    :celebrate

    - Mike S.

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