We live in a crazy, unpredictable world, and the issue of self-defense is on everyone’s minds. Utah does not prohibit any specific weapons or firearms, but you should be aware of some restrictions.
Utah has very relaxed laws surrounding the possession and use of firearms and dangerous weapons. Almost no weapons are specifically banned or prohibited, but weapons defined as dangerous may be more heavily restricted, even for self-defense purposes. Most weapons can be carried for self-defense if you are mindful of certain restrictions. Carrying dangerous weapons in places where they are banned, like schools or government buildings, may be met with criminal charges. You might be unable to carry weapons for self-defense if you are restricted from doing so because of your criminal background. Penalties might be imposed when minors carry weapons or weapons are carried in prohibited locations, even for self-defense reasons.
If you are facing criminal charges because you were carrying a weapon or firearm in self-defense, our Salt Lake City weapons crimes lawyers can help you fight the charges. For a free case assessment, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.
Self-Defense Weapon Laws in Utah
Utah is somewhat more relaxed regarding laws surrounding weapons and firearms. You can carry a firearm without a permit if you are at least 21. However, you must be otherwise unrestricted from carrying a weapon. Although many weapons are classified as dangerous under the law and have certain restrictions, most weapons can be legally carried for self-defense.
Since most weapons, even dangerous weapons, are not barred outright, you can legally carry most of them for self-defense purposes. However, many weapons are considered dangerous and may only be carried under certain conditions or restrictions. According to Utah Code § 76-10-201(6), a “dangerous weapon” includes all firearms and any object capable of causing death or serious bodily harm if used for its intended purpose.
As you can tell, most weapons are likely considered dangerous under the law. However, there is no ban on any specific weapons. Even so, dangerous weapons can be carried for self-defense, but certain areas or uses might be restricted or off-limits. Additionally, while Utah does not restrict most firearms, federal law might. For example, it is legal for an adult in Utah to carry a machine gun, but it violates federal law. Our Ogden weapons crimes attorneys can help you if you are facing charges for carrying a weapon for self-defense.
List of Legal Self-Defense Weapons in Utah
Any number of weapons might be useful for self-defense purposes. While many people carry more typical or traditional self-defense tools, other weapons might be more unusual, and people are often unsure if they can legally carry them. Many of the following tools and weapons can be carried for self-defense purposes in Utah:
- Pepper spray/mace
- Defense keychains
- Police batons or billy clubs
- Swords or sword canes
- Brass knuckles
Some of these weapons are more typical, but others are more unusual and might draw unwanted attention or suspicion. Generally, if you are not a person restricted from carrying dangerous weapons and firearms, most weapons can legally be carried for self-defense purposes. Carrying these weapons might become illegal if you are restricted, lack necessary permits (if required), or use the weapon for criminal purposes.
People Restricted from Carrying Weapons for Self-Defense in Utah
Most people can carry various weapons for self-defense as long as they abide by any relevant restrictions. Certain people might be restricted from carrying or owning weapons. If a restricted person has a weapon, even for self-defense, they might face criminal penalties.
Under Utah Code § 76-10-503(1), certain people with criminal histories or other red flags in their backgrounds might be restricted from possessing any dangerous weapons, even for self-defense.
Category I Restricted Persons
A person might be considered a Category I restricted person if they have been convicted of certain crimes or fulfill other specific criteria. Under the law, a person may be considered a Category I restricted person under the following circumstances:
- Convictions for violent felonies
- Being on probation or parole for any felony
- On parole from secure care
- Within the past 10 years was adjudicated as a juvenile for a crime that, if committed by an adult, would be considered a felony
- Is an alien illegally or unlawfully present in the United States
- Is on probation for possessing a Schedule I or II controlled substance or analog or other specific substances
If you believe any of these criteria apply to you, you might be restricted from owning, carrying, or possessing any dangerous weapons. This restriction extends to self-defense purposes.
Category II Restricted Persons
A Category II restricted person is also prohibited from carrying dangerous weapons, even for self-defense. However, the reasons for the restriction are usually less severe than those for Category I restricted persons. As such, penalties for violation are typically not as harsh.
Under the law, you might be considered a Category II restricted person under the following conditions:
- Convictions for any felony
- Within the last 7 years, you were adjudicated as a juvenile for a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult
- You use illegal controlled substances
- In possession of a dangerous weapon while also knowingly in possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance
- Found not guilty by reasons of insanity for a felony
- Found mentally incompetent to stand trial
- Determined to be mentally defective under the Brady handgun Violent Prevention Act or were committed to a mental institution
- Dishonorably discharged from the military
- Renounced your United States citizenship
- Subject of a protective order or child protective order
- You were convicted of certain domestic violence charges
Charges for Using Illegal or Prohibited Weapons in Utah
Under Utah Code § 76-10-509, minors are generally barred from having firearms unless they have parental permission or are accompanied by a parent. A violation of this law may be met with charges for Class B misdemeanors for a first offense and Class A misdemeanors for subsequent violations. The same penalties apply to adults who provide weapons to minors in violation of the law.
Certain places also come with heavy restrictions on dangerous weapons and firearms. For example, under Utah Code § 76-10-505(1), loaded firearms cannot be carried on a public street or in a posted prohibited area. Places like schools and government buildings are similarly off-limits. This restriction extends to people who might only have a firearm for self-defense. Our Orem criminal defense attorneys can help you fight these charges if your possession of the weapon is legal.
It should also be noted that the right to carry a weapon for self-defense purposes does not extend to carrying concealed weapons. Class B misdemeanors may be charged if you carry a concealed firearm, even for self-defense. More serious charges can be assessed depending on where the firearm was carried and the type of firearm involved.
Call Our Utah Weapons Crimes Lawyers for Help
The right to bear arms is certainly important, but it is not without restrictions. Even carrying a weapon for self-defense might land you in trouble if certain restrictions are not adhered to. Our Layton criminal defense lawyers can help you if you are facing criminal charges. For a free case evaluation, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.