Utah State Knife Laws

Utah flag

Utah is a state that is nominally pro-knife, but with major reservations. Their statutes are, quite frankly, highly perilous for the average citizen, consisting of predominantly subjective factors for determining whether or not a knife is legal under a given set of circumstances.

Combined with broad definitions, and with Utah’s history of adjudicating against the topic and lower courts, you will definitely need to be on your best behavior, and choose conservatively if you want to carry a knife without problems in Utah.

Though the state does not ban any kind or class of knife by particular feature or mechanism, it nonetheless puts considerable stress on a person when the time comes to choose what knife they will carry.

Will one handed opening features, ergonomic grips and other design elements see a knife classified as a dangerous weapon? The Utah Supreme Court has provided some backup thanks to rulings in recent years but Utah’s knife laws remain anything but clear.

At the very least, the state does have a preemption law on the books, and obtaining a concealed weapons permit may grant you some breathing room. Read more about this contentious and confusing state just below.

What You Need to Know

  • What Kind of Knives Can I Own?: Any kind of knife.
  • Can I Carry a Knife Concealed Without a Permit?: Yes, any knife that is not a “dangerous weapon”. See below.
  • Can I Carry a Knife Concealed With a Permit?: Yes, any knife that is not a “dangerous weapon”. See below.
  • Can I Carry a Knife Openly?: Yes, any kind of knife.

General Ownership

Utah restricts the possession of any “dangerous weapon” which, concerning knives, they define as any object that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, further qualify the factors that are used in assessing whether any object besides a firearm is indeed a dangerous weapon.

Those factors include the location and circumstances in which the item was possessed or used, the primary purpose for which the item was made, the character of the wound produced by the object if used in an unlawful way, how it was used unlawfully, whether or not the manner in which the given object is possessed constitutes an imminent threat to public safety, and all of that viewed for the lens of what lawful purposes the item might have.

Folks, it does not take any sort of legal degree to figure out that that is dangerously vague and interpretive language for state statutes governing the legal and lawful possession of weapons in the hands of citizens.

All that is required is the mere opinion, the click of a pen or the wave of a hand classify your knife, any knife whatsoever, as a dangerous weapon under the circumstances and start you down the wrong road to prosecution.

Now, the story as twisted and torturous as it is, does not end there in the statutes. Additional lines of the law state that any person having on or about their personage any dangerous weapon with intent to use it to commit a crime is further guilty of a crime.

That is fair enough, but what is to stop a law enforcement officer, or a judge, from categorizing the mere possession of a certain kind of knife as proof that one would only possess it with other-than-legal intent? That’s a good question, one that is addressed and yet another section of the law.

Concerning the use of any dangerous weapon in a fight or in a threatening manner, Utah again states the set of factors that determine whether or not an item is a dangerous weapon, this time with qualifiers:

First that “threatening manner” specifically does not include the mere possession of a dangerous weapon (whether or not it is visible) without additional behavior which is overtly threatening or informing another person of the fact that one is in possession of a deadly weapon as a warning to prevent the use of unlawful force by that person.

Additionally, the law also states that it is not a crime to threaten the use of said dangerous weapon, or to draw or display that dangerous weapon if the wielder believes it is reasonably necessary to prevent that other person’s use of force.

Readers, Utah laws are a bit strange concerning knives; on one hand they have gone out of their way to make it as easy as possible for any given knife to be classified as a dangerous weapon, and then gone just as far the other way to clarify that the innocent, lawful possession of any given knife does not make it a dangerous weapon.

This would perhaps be okay if everyone was an honest actor in the legal system, but Utah already has a history of the lower courts enabling punitive prosecution in such matters, with only the Supreme Court of Utah affirmatively preventing such abuses.

That is not a good state of affairs. It might not provide much comfort but Utah does feature fairly sturdy preemption laws on the books, so at the very least you will not have to contend with contradictory and overlapping local laws in addition to the state’s laws that govern or may govern knives.

Concealed Carry, No Permit

You may nominally carry concealed any knife, including a dangerous weapon, so long as you are not doing so with any Criminal Intent or committing a crime with the knife.

Concealed Carry, With Permit

Utah makes no distinction between carrying a knife with a permit as opposed to without a permit, but it is worth noting that the legal statutes concerning concealed weapons permits would seem the clear up much of the confusion above, but the language of those statutes only concerns firearms.

It remains to be seen if the possession of a permit will keep someone out of hot water legally if they are carrying a knife that is categorized as a dangerous weapon under the circumstances.

Open Carry

The open carry of knives is legal in Utah, though this does not do much to assuage the fear that one might run afoul of the dangerous weapon definitions in the statute.

Prohibited Places

You may not carry any knife into any public or private school, school grounds, or school event. You may also keep your knife in your vehicle while on school property.

Assessment

Utah is a nominally pro knife state, but it is one with the most circular, bizarre and downright unhelpful knife laws that one could expect from such a place.

The statutes seen tailored to make classifying any knife a dangerous weapon under any circumstances as easy as possible while at the same time taking pains to clarify that simple possession does not rate charges.

In the end, an individual citizen’s confidence in these laws will probably be flimsy, and with good reason. Take pains that you do not run afoul of the law while carrying any knife in Utah.

Important Utah State Statutes

76-10-501. Definitions.

(6)

(a) “Dangerous weapon” means:

(i) a firearm; or

(ii) an object that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

(b) The following factors are used in determining whether any object, other than a firearm, is a dangerous weapon:

(i) the location and circumstances in which the object was used or possessed;

(ii) the primary purpose for which the object was made;

(iii) the character of the wound, if any, produced by the object’s unlawful use;

(iv) the manner in which the object was unlawfully used;

(v) whether the manner in which the object is used or possessed constitutes a potential imminent threat to public safety; and

(vi) the lawful purposes for which the object may be used.

(c) “Dangerous weapon” does not include an explosive, chemical, or incendiary device as defined by Section 76-10-306.

(16) “Readily accessible for immediate use” means that a firearm or other dangerous weapon is carried on the person or within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as readily as if carried on the person.

(18) “Securely encased” means not readily accessible for immediate use, such as held in a gun rack, or in a closed case or container, whether or not locked, or in a trunk or other storage area of a motor vehicle, not including a glove box or console box.

(23) “State entity” means a department, commission, board, council, agency, institution, officer, corporation, fund, division, office, committee, authority, laboratory, library, unit, bureau, panel, or other administrative unit of the state.

76-10-507. Possession of deadly weapon with criminal intent.

Every person having upon his person any dangerous weapon with intent to use it to commit a criminal offense is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

76-10-506. Threatening with or using dangerous weapon in fight or quarrel.

(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Dangerous weapon” means an item that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. The following factors shall be used in determining whether an item, object, or thing is a dangerous weapon:

(i) the character of the instrument, object, or thing;

(ii) the character of the wound produced, if any; and

(iii) the manner in which the instrument, object, or thing was exhibited or used.

(b) “Threatening manner” does not include:

(i) the possession of a dangerous weapon, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior which is threatening; or

(ii) informing another of the actor’s possession of a deadly weapon in order to prevent what the actor reasonably perceives as a possible use of unlawful force by the other and the actor is not engaged in any activity described in Subsection 76-2-402(2)(a).

(2) Except as otherwise provided in Section 76-2-402 and for those persons described in Section 76-10-503, a person who, in the presence of two or more persons, and not amounting to a violation of Section 76-5-103, draws or exhibits a dangerous weapon in an angry and threatening manner or unlawfully uses a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(3) This section does not apply to a person who, reasonably believing the action to be necessary in compliance with Section 76-2-402, with purpose to prevent another’s use of unlawful force:

(a) threatens the use of a dangerous weapon; or

(b) draws or exhibits a dangerous weapon.

(4) This section does not apply to a person listed in Subsections 76-10-523(1)(a) through (e) in performance of the person’s duties.

76-10-523. Persons exempt from weapons laws.

(1) Except for Sections 76-10-506, 76-10-508, and 76-10-508.1, this part and Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7, Concealed Firearm Act, do not apply to any of the following:

(a) a United States marshal;

(b) a federal official required to carry a firearm;

(c) a peace officer of this or any other jurisdiction;

(d) a law enforcement official as defined and qualified under Section 53-5-711;

(e) a judge as defined and qualified under Section 53-5-711; or

(f) a common carrier while engaged in the regular and ordinary transport of firearms as merchandise.

(2) The provisions of Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to any person to whom a permit to carry a concealed firearm has been issued:

(a) pursuant to Section 53-5-704; or

(b) by another state or county.

(3) Except for Sections 76-10-503, 76-10-506, 76-10-508, and 76-10-508.1, this part and Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7, Concealed Firearm Act, do not apply to a nonresident traveling in or though the state, provided that any firearm is:

(a) unloaded; and

(b) securely encased as defined in Section 76-10-501.

76-10-503. Restrictions on possession, purchase, transfer, and ownership of dangerous weapons by certain persons – Exceptions.

(…)

(8)

(a) A person may not sell, transfer, or otherwise dispose of any firearm or dangerous weapon to any person, knowing that the recipient is a person described in Subsection (1)(a) or (b).

(b) A person who violates Subsection (8)(a) when the recipient is:

(i) a person described in Subsection (1)(a) and the transaction involves a firearm, is guilty of a second degree felony;

(ii) a person described in Subsection (1)(a) and the transaction involves any dangerous weapon other than a firearm, and the transfer or has knowledge that the recipient intends to use the weapon for any unlawful purpose, is guilty of a third degree felony;

(iii) a person described in Subsection (1)(b) and the transaction involves a firearm, is guilty of a third degree felony; or

(iv) a person described in Subsection (1)(b) and the transaction involves any dangerous weapon other than a firearm, and the transferor has knowledge that the recipient intends to use the weapon for any unlawful purpose, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(9)

(a) A person may not knowingly solicit, persuade, encourage or entice a dealer or other person to sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of a firearm or dangerous weapon under circumstances which the person knows would be a violation of the law.

(b) A person may not provide to a dealer or other person any information that the person knows to be materially false information with intent to deceive the dealer or other person about the legality of a sale, transfer or other disposition of a firearm or dangerous weapon.

(c) “Materially false information” means information that portrays an illegal transaction as legal or a legal transaction as illegal.

(d) A person who violates this Subsection (9) is guilty of:

(i) a third degree felony if the transaction involved a firearm; or

(ii) a class A misdemeanor if the transaction involved a dangerous weapon other than a firearm.

76-10-505.5. Possession of a dangerous weapon, firearm, or short barreled shotgun on or about school premises – Penalties.

(1) As used in this section, “on or about school premises” means:

(a)

(i) in a public or private elementary or secondary school; or

(ii) on the grounds of any of those schools;

(b)

(i) in a public or private institution of higher education; or

(ii) on the grounds of a public or private institution of higher education; and

(iii)

(A) inside the building where a preschool or child care is being held, if the entire building is being used for the operation of the preschool or child care; or

(B) if only a portion of a building is being used to operate a preschool or child care, in that room or rooms where the preschool or child care operation is being held.

(2) A person may not possess any dangerous weapon, firearm, or short barreled shotgun, as those terms are defined in Section 76-10-501, at a place that the person knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is on or about school premises as defined in this section.

(3)

(a) Possession of a dangerous weapon on or about school premises is a class B misdemeanor.

(b) Possession of a firearm or short barreled shotgun on or about school premises is a class A misdemeanor.

(4) This section does not apply if:

(a) the person is authorized to possess a firearm as provided under Section 53-5-704, 53-5-705, 76-10-511, or 76-10-523, or as otherwise authorized by law;

(b) the possession is approved by the responsible school administrator;

(c) the item is present or to be used in connection with a lawful, approved activity and is in the possession or under the control of the person responsible for its possession or use; or

(d) the possession is:

(i) at the person’s place of residence or on the person’s property; or

(ii) in any vehicle lawfully under the person’s control, other than a vehicle owned by the school or used by the school to transport students.

(5) This section does not prohibit prosecution of a more serious weapons offense that may occur on or about school premises.

10-8-47.5. Knives regulated by state.

(1) As used in this section, “knife” means a cutting instrument that includes a sharpened or pointed blade.

(2) The authority to regulate a knife is reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to a municipality.

(3)

(a) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature or, subject to Subsection (3)(b), a municipal ordinance with a criminal penalty, a municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance or a regulation pertaining to a knife.

(b) A municipality may not enact an ordinance with a criminal penalty pertaining to a knife that is:

(i) more restrictive than a state criminal penalty pertaining to a knife; or

(ii) has a greater criminal penalty than a state penalty pertaining to a knife.

17-50-332. Knives regulated by state.

(1) As used in this section, “knife” means a cutting instrument that includes a sharpened or pointed blade.

(2) The authority to regulate a knife is reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to a county.

(3)

(a) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature or, subject to Subsection (3)(b), a county ordinance with a criminal penalty, a county may not enact or enforce an ordinance or a regulation pertaining to a knife.

(b) A county may not enact an ordinance with a criminal penalty pertaining to a knife that is:

(i) more restrictive than a state criminal penalty pertaining to a knife; or

(ii) has a greater criminal penalty than a state penalty pertaining to a knife.


20 survival items ebook cover

Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link:

We will not spam you.

Leave a Comment