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 Teen Shoots Himself in Leg, Discharging a Firearm in City Limits

A Logan, Utah teen may be in trouble for discharging a firearm in city limits after he accidentally shot himself in the leg while cleaning a gun.

Cleaning a loaded weapon


The 16 year old boy was home alone cleaning an unknowingly loaded .40 caliber handgun when the firearm went off, sending a bullet through his leg near his knee and then into an adjacent apartment. The teenager was able to contact his grandmother who called 911 to attend to the boy’s gunshot wound. Thankfully, he is expected to make a full recovery and no one in the neighboring apartment was hurt by the stray bullet.

Gun safety

The Logan teenager is fortunate that the bullet didn’t kill him or harm someone else nearby. Although state law allows teenagers to possess certain types of firearms with and sometimes without a parent nearby, it is important for parents to teach gun safety to their children or enroll them in appropriate classes. It is also wise to discuss whether handling of weapons when no adult is nearby is safe or even legal.

Discharging a firearm in city limits

It is assumed at this time that the self-inflicted gunshot wound was accidental, yet the 16 year old teenager is still being investigated as discharging a firearm in city limits is against the law, accident or no accident. Logan Utah ordinance 9.28.010 states “It is unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm within the limits of the city, except in defense of person or property or in the case of any peace officer or city employee in the discharge of such person’s duty.”

An age of mistakes

With multiple surgeries scheduled to repair the damage done to his knee area, the teen is already paying a high price for his mistake. It was not his intention of discharging a firearm in city limits, and criminal charges would serve little purpose at this time. A juvenile defense attorney knows that and can help the youth and their family fight for fairness and understanding in court.

Juvenile Opens Fire in School, Wounding Three People

Photo: Isaac Tovar

A 12-year-old juvenile in New Mexico was taken into custody after he opened fire at the middle school he attended, wounding three people–two of whom were students.

What Happened?

Authorities believe the juvenile boy planned the attack; they also think he warned some students that there would be an attack. Two students were wounded during the shooting, one critically. An adult also received some type of injury.

As Bad As it Was, It Could Have Been Worse

Fortunately, the situation didn’t end up as bad as it might have had there been more shooters or had the juvenile had more gun ammunition. A judge ordered that the juvenile receive an evaluation and mental health treatment. Officials are still looking for a motive behind the attack.

There are many ways parents can help their children these days, but some areas are tough, including when kids have to deal with bullies, sex issues and mental health problems. Parents can be on the lookout for difficult situations but can’t always prevent serious problems.

Talk to a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney About Your Child’s Legal Dilemma

Children who get into legal trouble, no matter what type, need and deserve competent, experienced legal help. Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today if you have a child who’s considered delinquent for any reason.

There’s no need to wait for the worst possible scenario to occur. Get your son or daughter the expert legal defense they need.

Guns and Juveniles in Utah

There are a fair amount of laws surrounding minors and their use of dangerous weapons, including guns, in Utah.

Photo: sierrasportsment

Minors under 18 years old may not possess a dangerous weapon unless the following conditions are met:

• the juvenile must have permission from a parent or guardian to possess such a weapon, and
• he must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while in possession of a weapon.

If a minor under 14 years old is in possession of a dangerous weapon, he shall be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Violation of these laws is a class B misdemeanor the first time, but a class A misdemeanor any subsequent times.

One weapon that juveniles under the age of 18 may not possess under any circumstances is a handgun. With the exception of where permissible by federal law, minors under 18 may not have the following weapons:

• sawed-off rifle
• sawed-off shotgun
• a fully automatic weapon

Violation of the handgun law is a class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for any further offenses. It is a third-degree felony for a minor to have a sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun or fully automatic weapon.

Providing Guns to Violent Minors

Parents are not to give a weapon to a violent minor, regardless of the situation, or the parent will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony. A violent minor is generally someone who has been convicted of a violent felony or who has been in juvenile court under circumstances which would be considered a violent felony if the juvenile was an adult.

Additionally, any parent who knows his minor has a dangerous weapon in her possession but doesn’t make reasonable efforts to take the weapon away is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Utah is usually considered to be a gun-friendly state, but there are times when juveniles shouldn’t have access to guns or other weapons for any reason. If your child is involved in legal problems over a gun-related issue, don’t hesitate to contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Let an attorney guide you through complex juvenile law and be your child’s advocate when she most needs assistance.