Utah Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Utah

In opposition to other states, Utah has several restrictions that not many others do. However, there are no state permit requirements for purchasing handguns and shotguns. There is only a seven dollar fifty cents fee for the necessary instant background check. Those who have concealed weapons permits issued through Utah will not have to pay this fee. No firearm registration is necessary in Utah. There is no assault weapons law and licenses are not required for shotgun and handgun owners.

Utah LawsPermits are required to carry both long guns and handguns. These permits are issued to those over the age of twenty-one for self defense purposes. The application is required to be processed within sixty days of receiving the application. Permits may be denied if applications have been deemed to have poor character.

Utah also preempts local restrictions. Under this act the local governments are not allowed to establish, enforce, or regulate stricter ordinances for firearms that are not designated by the state. This also includes possessing firearms on both private and public property.

Utah is located in the Western United States. Most of its 2,940,000 people live along the Wasatch Front, which is centered in Salt Lake City, and much of the state is nearly uninhabited. Utah is bordered by Arizona to the south, Colorado to the east, Wyoming on the northeast, Idaho to the north and Nevada to the west, as well as a corner of New Mexico. Open carry is legal in Utah with a valid license to carry, and is legal even without a license so long as at least two actions are required to fire the gun, such as racking the slide and pulling the trigger.

Castle Doctrine Utah

The only NFA weapon that is restricted in Utah is sawed-off shotguns when possessed on school property. Concealed weapons permits do not exclude any individual from this law. Peaceable Journey laws exist for shotguns, rifles, and handguns. Those traveling through Utah borders are permitted to have unloaded and encased firearms as well as loaded handguns if the firearms are under complete control. These laws are according to Utah statute 76-10-501.

Castle Doctrine is also present for both long guns and handguns. Under the Castle Doctrine, individuals are permitted to inflict considerable force on another if their safety is impeded or if another’s safety is impeded. The extent of this force depends on the circumstance and should be exhibited with caution, especially if the bodily injury will be the result.

Castle Doctrine also allows an individual to use force to prevent a serious felony offense from taking place. “Stand your Ground” laws are also permitted in Utah and allow individuals to defend themselves before retreating. This may include deadly force in dangerous circumstances.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Utah generally prohibits carrying concealed firearms in vehicles without a permit. It is illegal to possess a loaded long gun in a vehicle. You may only carry a handgun without a permit if: (1) You are legally in possession of the vehicle; (2) have the consent of the owner; (3) are over 18 years old; and (4) the firearm is unloaded; securely encased (not including glove box or console box) and is not readily accessible for immediate use.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. If You possess a license/permit, You are allowed to carry into all establishments that serve alcohol. You are allowed to consume alcohol while You carry, but it is illegal to carry while intoxicated (blood alcohol level over .08%)

Self-defense Laws

Utah has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from anywhere You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling if You reasonably believe the intruder intended to harm an occupant of the dwelling or commit a felony inside it.

Open Carry Laws

Those who do not have concealed weapons permits are allowed to openly carry firearms if, and only if, the firearm is unloaded. No rounds can be in the firing position and the firearm must be two or more mechanical actions from the next fire. Also, individuals without concealed weapons permits are allowed to carry firearms with a full magazine as it is under the unloaded stipulation. Concealed weapons permit holders may openly carry a firearm whenever permitted. County and state laws will recognize permits from any other Utah county.

Non-Utah residents are allowed to acquire concealed weapons permits, though certain requirements apply. Utah is a “shall issue” state, meaning that all those who meet the necessary requirements are allowed to obtain a permit for carrying a concealed weapon. Thirty-four of the fifty states will honor a Utah concealed weapons permit, however, some states will not honor non-resident permits as issued through Utah.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Utah will recognize another state’s license to carry.

“The provisions of Subsections 76-10-504 (1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to any person to whom a permit to carry a concealed firearm has been issued: … (b) by another state or county.”

Criminal Provisions

Under Utah law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Utah, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity agreement between his or her state of license and Utah:

  • Any secured area in which firearms are prohibited and notice is posted. Including:
    • A school or educational facility that has prohibited carrying pursuant to § 53B-3-103
    • Correctional facility, as defined by § 76-8-311.3
    • Law enforcement facility
    • Mental health facility, as defined by § 62A-15-602
    • A courtroom or courthouse which has prohibited carrying pursuant to § 78A-2-203
  • Any airport secure area


Utah gun laws are some of the most relaxed in the United States. Citizens are able to openly carry firearms without a permit and may purchase firearms from private sellers without a background check. Additionally, Utah has adopted a “shall issue” policy for concealed weapons permits, meaning that anyone who meets the qualifications is eligible for one.

The state requires no additional training or certification beyond passing an FBI background check before purchasing firearms from private vendors or licensed dealers. However, certain types of guns and ammunition cannot be sold to persons under 18 years old; these include automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and high-capacity magazines. Despite this restriction on minors, Utah still maintains some of the least restrictive gun control laws in the country.

Utah also allows citizens to transport their guns across state lines as long as they comply with local laws at each stop along their route.

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