Utah law does not:
- Require courts to notify domestic abusers when they become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law ; or
- Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Convicted of Domestic Violence Misdemeanors
Utah prohibits firearm purchase or possession by individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.1 In 2018, Utah enacted a law providing that a misdemeanor offense against a current or former dating partner qualifies as a domestic violence misdemeanor.2
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Utah prohibits firearm purchase or possession by an individual subject to a final domestic violence protective order for which the respondent received notice and an opportunity to appear if the order includes a finding that:
- The respondent or defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner as defined by federal law; or
- Explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm against an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner.3
When a petition for an order of protection is filed, the court may prohibit the respondent from purchasing, using, or possessing a firearm upon a finding that the respondent’s use or possession of a weapon may pose a serious threat of harm to the petitioner.4 The court may make such an order ex parte (without notice to the respondent).5 A petition for such an order may be brought by any emancipated person or person 16 years of age or older who:
- Is or was a spouse of the other party;
- Is or was living as if a spouse of the other party;
- Is related by blood or marriage to the other party as the person’s parent, grandparent, sibling, or any other person related to the person by consanguinity or affinity to the second degree;
- Has one or more children in common with the other party;
- Is the biological parent of the other party’s unborn child;
- Is or was in a consensual sexual relationship with the other party; or
- Resides or has resided in the same residence as the other party.6
However, a petition for such an order may not be brought if one party is the natural parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent of the other, who is a minor, or if both parties are natural, adoptive, step, or foster siblings who are under 18 years of age.7
If a finding is made that the subject of a child protective order or an ex parte child protective order may pose a serious threat of harm to the minor, the order may prohibit the subject from purchasing, using or possessing a firearm.8
Utah also authorizes a court, when issuing a dating violence protective order, to prohibit the respondent from possessing or acquiring firearms if the order is issued after a hearing, the preponderance of the evidence shows the respondent has committed abuse or dating violence against the petitioner, and there is clear and convincing evidence that the respondent’s use or possession of a firearm poses a serious threat of harm to the petitioner or a designated family or household member.9
Federal law also prohibits firearm possession by certain protective order defendants.
Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident
Utah requires a law enforcement officer who responds to an allegation of stalking, domestic violence or dating violence to confiscate the weapon or weapons involved in the alleged domestic violence incident.10 Law Enforcement must return the weapon if a stalking, domestic violence or dating violence protective order is not issued or once it is terminated.11 Law enforcement may not return the confiscated weapon if (i) the law enforcement officer or agency is unable to determine the legal owner of the weapon; (ii) the legal owner may not lawfully possess the weapon; or (iii) the legal owner was convicted of a crime for which the weapon was held as evidence.12 Utah law also authorizes a gun owner to voluntarily “commit” the firearm to law enforcement for 60 days if the owner believes another cohabitant is an immediate threat to himself or herself, to the gun owner, or to any other person.13
In 2019, Utah enacted a law requiring a court that issues a domestic violence protective order to report it to the Bureau of Criminal Identification within 48-hours of issuing the order.14 Within 48-hours of receipt from the court, the Bureau must report the order to the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS).15
See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(b)(xi).
- Utah Code Ann.§ 78B-7-102(2)(c).
- Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(b)(x).
- Utah Code Ann. §§ 78B-7-106(2)(d), 78B-7-107(2).
- Utah Code Ann. §§ 77-36-1(4), 78B-7-102(2), (5), 78B-7-106, and 78B-7-107(2).
- Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-102(3).
- Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-204(1)(d).
- Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-404(3)(b), (5).
- Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-5-106.5(a)(ii), 77-36-2.1(1)(b), 78B-7-408(1)(b).
- Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-5-106.5(c), 77-36-2.1(3), 78B-7-408(3)(b).
- Utah Code Ann. § 77-24-2(d).
- Utah Code Ann. § 53-5c-201.
- Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-106(5)(e).
- Utah Code Ann. § 53-10-213(1).