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.

Utah Juvenile Makes Threats Against School; Suspended Indefinitely

Utah Juvenile Makes Threats Against School
Photo: Wapster

In another case of a juvenile threatening violence, a 12-year-old Logan boy was suspended this week for admitting to making threats against his school. The length of the suspension has yet to be determined as well as whether criminal charges will be filed.

Even Online Comments Constitute Threats

According to Logan Police Department Lt. Tyson Budge, they received notification from the online gambling site, roblox.com, that in a routine monitoring of online comments one of their employees had seen threats from a user talking about taking guns to school. The user had reportedly talked about the need to “kill them while they are young.”

Once the user was identified, the police contacted his mother and interviewed him in her presence where he admitted to making the comments. The Mount Logan Middle School student was immediately suspended, and the case was referred to the Cache County Attorney’s Office where additional criminal charges may be filed. The school district is attempting to determine whether the juvenile intended to carry through with these actions to assist them in their determination of the length of the suspension.

In a report from the Herald Journal News of Logan, Assistant Principal Dan Cox was quoted as saying, “[W]e want to protect the safety of all 1,500 people here at this school. We want to take the time to investigate this thoroughly and do right by everyone.”

Threats of Violence Charges Possible

These threats most likely wouldn’t be considered along the lines of “threats of terrorism” similar to the incident that closed Westlake High School on the first day of school. In that case, there was a threat of a weapon of mass destruction [alleged bombs]. However, this incident would at least constitute what the Utah Criminal Code considers Threats of Violence, even if the action is not carried out.

For an adult, these threats are a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000. For juvenile offenders, they may face restitution, fines or community service.

Making threats of violence is a serious offense and one that indicates perhaps a larger issue that may require professional counseling. In addition, if your child has been charged with making threats of violence–or any other crime–make sure to seek the professional help of a juvenile defense attorney who has your child’s best interests in mind.

Utah Teen Arrested After Supposed Gang Shooting

West Valley City police have arrested a Utah teen they believe was involved in a suspected gang shooting last week.

Photo: TC Crouch

What Happened?

Two groups of rival gang members got into a verbal tussle in the early hours of last Friday morning and were allegedly leaving the area when one teen, the suspect arrested, is believed to have fired several rounds at the other group. Police stated that no one reported to any local healthcare facility for treatment for a gunshot wound.

The Utah teen suspected of doing the shooting was arrested and the other occupants in the same vehicle were released to their parents.

What is a Criminal Street Gang?

A criminal street gang is described as an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more people that has:

• As one of its primary activities the commission of one or more gang crimes
• As a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both
• Members who engage in, or have engaged in, a pattern of criminal gang activity

There are enhanced penalties for members of criminal street gangs who commit certain offenses and who are found to have committed the offense

• With two or more people
• For the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with the gang or
• To gain recognition, membership, acceptance or increased status with the gang

Talk to an Attorney

Most Utah teens who commit an offense are handled within the jurisdiction of a Utah juvenile court. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, a teen’s case may be transferred to adult court. In order to help make sure that your child’s case is handled in the best way possible, you should talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney before going into court.

The right attorney can help see that your child is treated fairly and respectfully. Do what’s best for your son or daughter by contacting a Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Utah Teen Arrested After He Shoots Friend

A Utah teen has been taken into custody following an accidental shooting that left his friend with a bullet in his stomach.

Photo: J BrewWhat Happened?

The teens were outside a West Valley City apartment complex when the shooting occurred. A 16-year-old allegedly tried to shoot a gun towards the ground but it didn’t discharge. At some point, the gun went off and a 15-year-old ended up worse for the wear. It’s believed that his injury isn’t life-threatening.

The 16-year-old Utah teen was taken into custody and booked into a local juvenile detention facility. He’s being investigated for possession of a firearm and discharge of a firearm.

Utah Kids and Guns

According to Utah law, a minor under the age of 18 may not be in possession of a dangerous weapon unless he:

• Has a parent or guardian’s permission to have the weapon or
• Is accompanied by a parent or guardian while he has the weapon

Failure to obey this law can result in a class B misdemeanor charge the first time. If it happens any other times, the charge will increase to a class A misdemeanor.

Discharging a gun is addressed all on its own. There are several places it’s illegal to shoot a gun, including:

• From any vehicle
• Around highways
• At road signs
• At railroad equipment or signs
• Without written permission of the owner of property within 600 feet of a house, dwelling or any other building

It’s a class B misdemeanor to disobey this law, and a person may have his driver’s license revoked, suspended or denied if he commits this crime.

This particular case sounds like it was likely just an accident, that no harm was actually intended. However, it’s still in the Utah teen’s best interest to have expert legal representation in any court hearing or other aspects of his case.

Talk to a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child has been arrested for committing any offense, don’t wait to contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney. An experienced juvenile defense attorney may be able to help your Utah teen make sure that he’s treated fairly and respectfully. Make the right call today.

Utah Teen Fires Airsoft Gun at Person

You shouldn’t shoot from any weapon at a person, whether it’s an Airsoft or more lethal-type gun. A Utah teen has been arrested and sent to detention following an unfortunate decision to fire an Airsoft gun at another person.

Photo: Benjamin Deutsch

What Happened?

The incident began when a group of teens riding in a car came across another car carrying a person whom one teen (in the first car) believed owed him money. At some point the 17-year-old in the first car shot the other person in the head with his Airsoft gun.

For better or worse, depending on your point of view, the entire confrontation was witnessed first-hand by a UHP officer behind the vehicles. The officer thought he was witnessing a road-rage situation and believed the gun to be a regular lethal weapon, as opposed to an Airsoft gun.

The officer pulled the car over and arrested the teen (who had already ditched his Airsoft gun out the window) for investigation into numerous offenses, including: aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, drug paraphernalia possession and discharging a weapon from a moving vehicle. Fortunately, the teen who was shot wasn’t seriously injured.

How You Can Help Your Child

Our best advice for helping any juvenile who may have been involved in committing an offense is to talk to an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible. Even though the teen in this particular situation may have made a bad decision, it doesn’t mean he should be treated like a criminal.

Kids need and deserve expert legal help just as much as adults. Many juveniles can resolve their legal problems much more simply if they have an attorney representing them.

Contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney today and get your child’s case on the right track.