Utah Municipal Attorneys Association

Local Regulation of Firearms in Public Places

  • 21 Oct 2014 1:36 PM
    Message # 3130671


    Dear Esteemed Colleagues:

    Recently, our community received a letter from an out-of-state organization, formally demanding that we repeal our laws with regards to the possession and regulation of firearms in public places (like parks), indicating that we are "at risk for a lawsuit" if we do not do so and thereby "bring [our] code into compliance with state law" (as they interpret it). 

    [Our Code provides that, "[w]hile on municipally owned property, no person shall . . . have possession of, or discharge a BB gun, air rifle, pistol firearm, . . . or any other type of dangerous weapon, except authorized law enforcement officers."  (LVC, Section 7-5A-1,K)] 

    The group, known as the Second Amendment Foundation, says that the City "has no legal authority to adopt or enforce" those laws.  This group allegedly has written letters to nearly 50 communities in the State (although I had not heard about this--not even at the ULCT Convention or UMAA Fall conf.); and has allegedly filed (and won) several lawsuits throughout the county on the issue.

    * Did your city/town receive such a letter?

    * How did, or how do you plan, to respond?

       + To the group?

       + As a City, with regards to your laws and/or policies?

    * Do you agree with their reading/interpretation of Sections 53-5a-102 and 76-10-500, UCA, that municipalities no longer have the legal authority to adopt or enforce such laws on public property?  How do Sections 76-10-501 and 76-10-505, UCA, affect your reading of the cited laws, if at all?

    Your input, insights, and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Kevin R. Bennett, City Attorney, LaVerkin City

Utah Municipal Attorneys Association
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