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.

Protect Teens with Stricter Utah Gun Laws

News stories of teens using guns are filling news feeds lately, causing some to wonder if having stricter Utah gun laws would protect teens from making horrific mistakes, or at least limit their violent resources.

Photo by: frankieleon
Photo by: frankieleon

15 year old charged with 1st degree murder

Earlier this month a 15 year old Salt Lake City boy ended an altercation with a 22 year old man by shooting him in the chest after they exited a city bus. The teen not only ended the life of the 22 year old victim, he severely damaged his own. He was charged with 1st degree murder and three counts of 2nd degree discharge of a firearm and will likely see many years behind bars.

How Utah gun laws compare

Utah is one of the most relaxed states when it comes to firearms. Right up there with Montana and other gun friendly states of the Rocky Mountains, Utah is a proud supporter of the 2nd amendment. Nevertheless, common citizens packing heat while they dine at a restaurant or teenagers taking out their frustrations with a pistol they received from who-knows-where seems a little distant from exercising our constitutional right to protect ourselves “as a well-regulated militia”.

Faulty precautions and our youth that pay for it

Utah gun laws do not allow teens to possess a firearm (unless while hunting under the watchful eye of an adult). This simple gun law of being 18 or older does as little for keeping guns away from teens as it does for keeping them clear of cigarettes or alcohol. With stricter Utah gun laws, we can remove from play a vehement pawn used by teens when they are overreacting, angry, irritated, or any other array of feelings that hormonal juveniles can feel in a matter of seconds. For legal counsel on juvenile firearm charges and penalties, contact a criminal defense attorney today.