Utah Gun Laws for Kids

Most parents in Utah do not let their kids have continual access to any gun yet others may be more comfortable with their older, experienced children handling certain firearms with or without parental supervision.

Possession of a dangerous weapon by minor

Gun Cabinet
Photo by: Mitch Barrie

According to Utah Code 76-10-509, kids under 14 must have a responsible adult with them to possess a weapon. In regards to older teens, ”a minor under 18 years of age may not possess a dangerous weapon unless he has the permission of his parent” or “is accompanied by a parent.” This states that a teen 14 to 18 years old may be in possession of a firearm even if the parents are not around.

Small print, different section

When reading the above section of the Utah Code, parents may fall under the false assumption that this section applies toward all weapons including any type of firearm, therefore letting their kids over 14 access whatever they want to in the family gun cabinet. Unknown to the parents however is there is another section to the Utah Code that states they may in fact be breaking the law.

Sorry not THOSE weapons

Kid with Handgun
Photo by: OakleyOriginals

The very next section of the Utah Code is 76-10-509.4 which specifies certain prohibitions on the types of guns a minor can possess. In Subsection 1 it states “A minor under 18 years of age may not possess a handgun”. Subsection 2 adds, they are also not permitted to possess a shortened rifle, shotgun, or fully automatic weapon. Violation of subsection 1 is a class B misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor for repeat offenses. Violation of subsection 2 is a 3rd degree felony. A parent allowing their child to be in possession of a handgun is likely to face charges as well.

Study gun laws thoroughly

Although Utah gun laws may be more lenient than other states, it is important to fully understand ALL laws regarding guns and other weapons before allowing minors near them. Failure to read all laws regarding guns and weapons may end in criminal charges for both parent and child. It is also important to know your child and whether or not they are mature and stable enough to possess a weapon.

Fourth Graders Facing Felony Arson Charges for Torching School Shed

Two fourth graders are facing felony charges for arson after torching a shed near a school in St. George Utah.

Arson
Photo by: Bastian

Flammable shop supplies

Fire crews responded to a report of an outbuilding on fire near Pine View Middle School in southern Utah last Tuesday evening. Upon arriving, authorities confirmed that the building on fire was a shed which housed numerous supplies for the nearby shop class. The shed and supplies were a complete loss, nearby windows to the school were blown out from the heat, and the fire was determined to have been arson.

Poor use of time

The two arson suspects, a 9 year old and a 10 year old, were observed on video surveillance and were determined to be the sole participants of the arson. The children were too young to be students of the school and had likely just started the fire for fun or out of boredom. Little did they know, their poor use of free time resulted in thousands of dollars in damage to the school and felony arson charges for them.

Photo by: Dani Vázquez
Photo by: Dani Vázquez

Arson

Utah Code 79-6-102 states “A person is guilty of arson if ( . . . ) by means of fire or explosives, the person unlawfully and intentionally damages (. . . ) the property of another.” The charges for arson can vary from a class B misdemeanor to a first degree felony (aggravated arson), depending on the cost of the damage and if anyone was harmed. Although no one was hurt in the school shed fire, the damage to the shed and supplies exceeded $5,000. For this reason, the two elementary school students in St. George are facing 2nd degree felony charges.

Do you know where your children are?

It is known at this time how long the children were without adult supervision, but it doesn’t take long for them to get into trouble. It is always a wise decision to keep close tabs on kids, especially those not mature enough to be trusted to make good decisions. For those times when youth commit crimes while out of parent’s radar even for a brief moment, a juvenile defense attorney is recommended.

Utah School Kids and Weapons

There were two separate incidents this past week concerning Utah school kids and weapons on school properties.

Photo: Mauro Cateb

Teens at Cyprus High

In one situation, four Cyprus High School students were arrested for possessing dangerous weapons on school property. The four teens were discovered allegedly skipping class and in possession of pocketknives and/or brass knuckles. Police noted that the boys had not hurt or threatened anyone, but do have gang connections. They were arrested and will likely be suspended and may be sent to other schools.

Legal Definition of Dangerous Weapons on School Property

According to the state code, no one—including Utah school kids—is allowed to be in possession of any dangerous weapon, firearm or sawed-off shotgun on or around school properties. Possessing a dangerous weapon on or about school premises is a class B misdemeanor. If you decide to take a firearm or sawed-off shotgun onto school property, you’ll probably be charged with a class A misdemeanor.

There is an exception to the above law. Someone, such as a school resource officer, who is authorized by the school administrator or who has a legal right to carry such a weapon can be excluded.

Youth Carries Gun to School

In another incident, an 11-year-old boy showed up at school with a gun and allegedly threatened other students. He was also arrested and will likely be sent through the juvenile court system.

Violence in Utah is nothing new, but it can be frustrating to see Utah school kids armed with weapons. One of the best ways to help a child who’s been put into the juvenile justice system is to make sure that he is represented by a top Utah juvenile defense attorney.

Helping Utah School Kids

Contact an attorney who has a reputation for helping and defending his juvenile clients. The right Utah juvenile defense attorney may make the positive difference in your child’s case that puts him on the right track.