Skip to Main Content
Last Updated

Preemption Statutes

Utah Code section 76-10-500(2) states:

All authority to regulate firearms shall be reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities. Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.

Section 53-5a-102, adopted in 2004, elaborates upon this policy. It provides, in part:

(2) Except as specifically provided by state law, a local authority or state entity may not: (a) prohibit an individual from owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring, transporting, or keeping a firearm at the individual’s place of residence, property, business, or in any vehicle lawfully in the individual’s possession or lawfully under the individual’s control; or (b) require an individual to have a permit or license to purchase, own, possess, transport, or keep a firearm. (3) In conjunction with Title 76, Chapter 10, Part 5, Weapons, this section is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities. (4) All authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities. (5) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property.1

In 2021, Utah passed a law forbidding a state agency, political subdivision, elected or appointed state official or employee, or official or employee of a political subdivision from implementing a presidential executive order that is determined by the attorney general to be unconstitutional if the order relates to the right to bear arms.1

Exceptions

Section 10-8-47(1)(c) specifically grants city boards of commissioners and city councils the authority to “regulate and prevent the discharge of firearms…”

Sections 76-8-311.1 and 76-8-311.3 allow correctional, law enforcement, and mental health facilities to prohibit or control firearms and ammunition.

Interpretation

In the 2006 case Univ. of Utah v. Shurtleff,2, the Supreme Court of Utah held that the University of Utah was subject to section 53-5a-102(5). The court held that article X, section 4 of the Utah Constitution—which confirms the rights held by public universities and colleges at the time of statehood—did not prevent the application of section 53-5a-102(5) to the University, and that the University’s policy prohibiting students, faculty, and staff from carrying firearms on campus was preempted.3

Other Statutory Provisions

The Utah State Board of Regents may “authorize higher education institutions to establish no more than one secure area at each institution as a hearing room…but [may] not otherwise restrict the lawful possession or carrying of firearms.”4 The Board may also authorize higher education institutions to make a rule allowing a dormitory resident to request only roommates not licensed to carry a concealed firearm.5

Immunity

For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Utah.

MEDIA REQUESTS

Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at media@giffords.org.

Contact
  1. Utah Code § 63C-4a-204.[]
  2. 144 P.3d 1109 (Utah 2006).[]
  3. Id. at 1121-22.[]
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 53B-3-103(2)(ii)(A).[]
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 53B-3-103(2)(ii)(B).[]