Last Updated: November 20, 2023

Can I be “around” guns if I am a restricted person?

The answer to this question will depend a lot on what you mean by being “around” guns. Utah law makes it a crime for a restricted person to purchase, transfer, possess, use, or have custody or control over any dangerous weapon, or to agree, consent, offer, or arrange for another…

The answer to this question will depend a lot on what you mean by being “around” guns.

Utah law makes it a crime for a restricted person to purchase, transfer, possess, use, or have custody or control over any dangerous weapon, or to agree, consent, offer, or arrange for another person to purchase, possession, transfer, use, or have control or custody of a firearm or any other dangerous weapon. Federal law typically provides penalties penalties for possession of a firearm that are even more severe than the felony penalties imposed under Utah law.

Utah law does not make it a crime for a restricted person to be “around” guns. The problem is that a person who is “around” guns can start to look like a person who has possession, control, or custody of a gun. The important question is not necessarily whether you “are” engaged in unlawful conduct, but whether it “looks like” you are engaged in unlawful conduct.

Many Utah families have traditions involving target shooting or annual hunting trips that have gone on for generations. Status as a restricted person will mean that you cannot actively participate in the hunt. You may be able to still be involved in the trip, but you should be very careful about any events where guns are present.

Police often will arrest a person who “looks like” they are committing a crime. A jury can reach a guilty verdict at trial if they are convinced that the person who “looks like” they committed a crime really did commit the crime.

If you are a restricted person, your goal should not be to just avoid actually committing any gun-related crimes. Your goal should be to also avoid doing anything that might even look like you are committing a crime.

An option to consider as a restricted person is pursuing an expungement, 402 reduction, or pardon. It may be possible to clear your record of the convictions that have given you that restricted status.

Originally Published: November 20, 2023

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