Utah Guns Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been perplexed after my hunting party was stopped last year by a DWR officer checking our hunting licenses. We were in the truck, and all of our rifles were unloaded. (Bolt action, nothing in the chamber.) The officer asked us if our rifles were unloaded. We responded that all 3 of us had concealed carry permits and and were within our rights to have loaded firearms in the vehicle. The wildlife officer said that did not apply to our situation since we were hunting. (The blaze orange gave us away.) We then informed him that indeed, in spite of our right to have loaded weapons in the truck all of our rifles were unloaded.

In the hunting proclamation http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2008_biggame/2008_biggame.pdf it is clear, that while hunting, regardless of which hunt, even bow, we have the right to carry a concealed weapon, but may not use it for taking game:

(page 40)
If you’re licensed to carry a concealed weapon in accordance with Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code. You may not use your concealed firearm to hunt or take protected wildlife.
Okay, fine-- I won't take Bambi with my 9mm, but...

1) Does this mean that we have surrendered our right to openly carry a small caliber pistol for defense while hunting?

Next from the proclamation (page 40) we read:
Loaded firearms in a vehicle
Utah Code §§ 76-10-502 and 76-10-505
You may not carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle. A pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun is considered loaded when an unfired cartridge, shell or projectile is in the firing position. Pistols and revolvers are also considered loaded when an unfired cartridge, shell or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unfired cartridge, shell or projectile to fire.A muzzleloading firearm is considered loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinders.
Hmmm... no exclusion for permit holders in this clause.

2) Does this mean that I do not have the right to have my rifle loaded in the truck (while hunting) like the wildlife officer suggested?
3) Does this mean that I can't carry a loaded defense pistol (concealed / open) in the car while hunting?

Just for sake of clarity, I do have a concealed firearm permit. Thanks! :fudd:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,167 Posts
Okay, I am going to attempt to answer your questions, but I will do so in an order that I think is logical - so it might not fit your questions exactly - but I will give short answers to your questions at the end.

1. Utah has 76-10-500 Uniform law which states:
(1) The individual right to keep and bear arms being a constitutionally protected right, the Legislature finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state. Except as specifically provided by state law, a citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien shall not be:
(a) prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring, transporting, or keeping any firearm at his place of residence, property, business, or in any vehicle lawfully in his possession or lawfully under his control; or
(b) required to have a permit or license to purchase, own, possess, transport, or keep a firearm.
(2) This part is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities. 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.
So, no, the DWR cannot enact or enforce any ordinance pertaining to firearms that is not already in the law.

2. There's no real reason to debate section 76-10-502 in the code, we should know when a weapon is deemed loaded.

3. Utah code 76-10-504. Carrying concealed dangerous weapon -- Penalties states:
(1) Except as provided in Section 76-10-503 and in Subsections (2) and (3):
(a) a person who carries a concealed dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 76-10-501, which is not a firearm on his person or one that is readily accessible for immediate use which is not securely encased, as defined in this part, in a place other than his residence, property, or business under his control is guilty of a class B misdemeanor; and
(b) a person without a valid concealed firearm permit who carries a concealed dangerous weapon which is a firearm and that contains no ammunition is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, but if the firearm contains ammunition the person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
(2) A person who carries concealed a sawed-off shotgun or a sawed-off rifle is guilty of a second degree felony.
(3) If the concealed firearm is used in the commission of a violent felony as defined in Section 76-3-203.5, and the person is a party to the offense, the person is guilty of a second degree felony.
(4) Nothing in Subsection (1) shall prohibit a person engaged in the lawful taking of protected or unprotected wildlife as defined in Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code, from carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm with a barrel length of four inches or greater as long as the taking of wildlife does not occur:
(a) within the limits of a municipality in violation of that municipality's ordinances; or
(b) upon the highways of the state as defined in Section 41-6a-102.
According to subsection 4, you are allowed to carry your defense weapon while hunting as long as you do not use it to take wildlife. As open carry is still being defined and written into existing law, this is an area of confusion for those who do not understand the law, but are supposed to enforce it. As you are legally able to open carry elsewhere in the state (except federal facilities, etc), according to the Uniform Law, open carry while hunting cannot be prohibited - just don't unholster it unless your life is in danger.

4. Utah code 76-10-505. Carrying loaded firearm in vehicle or on street has an important statement in subsection 1:
(1) Unless otherwise authorized by law, a person may not carry a loaded firearm:
(a) in or on a vehicle;
(b) on any public street; or
(c) in a posted prohibited area.
(2) A violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor.
You have been "authorized by law" as a CFP holder to carry in your vehicle and on a public street, etc. Section 505 allows you to conceal or openly carry where you choose (except prohibited areas previously mentioned). Public land and parks (where you hunt) are not allowed to regulate your methods beyond the laws the legislature has set forth.

I will say that I am NOT a lawyer and any information here should not be construed as professional advice.

To answer your questions:

1) Does this mean that we have surrendered our right to openly carry a small caliber pistol for defense while hunting?
No. Having a permit only extends your rights in the eyes of the law, it never restricts them. Public agencies cannot enforce or enact laws that are contradictory to state code.

2) Does this mean that I do not have the right to have my rifle loaded in the truck (while hunting) like the wildlife officer suggested?
No. You have the right to have loaded firearms in your vehicle if you have a permit. It doesn't matter what you are doing or what you are wearing. The permit allows you to have loaded firearms in your vehicle, even if you do not use those firearms as your primary self-defense weapons.

3) Does this mean that I can't carry a loaded defense pistol (concealed / open) in the car while hunting?
No. As stated before, you are perfectly within your rights to carry loaded firearms on your person or in your vehicle as long as you are not in prohibited areas. It doesn't matter if you are on a nature hike, a scenic drive or the hunt - the DWR is not able to restrict your rights any further than state code has done already.

Hopefully this helps. You really ought to consider picking up a copy of Attorney Mitch Vilos' Utah Gun Law 3rd Edition. You can find out where to buy a copy by clicking here: Where to get 'Utah Gun Law, 3rd Edition'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,331 Posts
Excellent write-up GeneticsDave! Thanks for taking the time to document this so completely. I agree completely.

However, I have talked to a couple DWR officers, none of which believe or agree that you can have a loaded rifle in your automobile while hunting if you have a CFP. I'm not saying your wrong, but they don't seem to know this or have been told/trained that the hunting gun law trumps the concealed carry laws. If you were caught in this situation, you might have a bit of a legal fight on your hands in proving this to be the case.

Additionally, my understanding of Section 76-10-503...

(4) Nothing in Subsection (1) shall prohibit a person engaged in the lawful taking of protected or unprotected wildlife as defined in Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code, from carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm with a barrel length of four inches or greater as long as the taking of wildlife does not occur:
(a) within the limits of a municipality in violation of that municipality's ordinances; or
(b) upon the highways of the state as defined in Section 41-6a-102.
... is that this extends to people that do not have a CFP. In other words, you have a legal right to carry a concealed weapon (so long as the barrel is > 4 inches - a subcompact would be illegal?!?!) while hunting even if you do not have a CFP. I believe this was put in to place to allow hunters to carry a protection weapon under a coat, etc. while hunting. Is my interpretation correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,098 Posts
According to Mitch Vilos' Utah Gun Law book and U.C.A 76-10-504(4), Chapter VII, a person who is legally hunting and does not have a CFP can carry a concealed gun as long as the barrel is greater than four inches. I hope Mr. Vilos doesn't mind me quoting his book.

ian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,791 Posts
ian husford said:
According to Mitch Vilos' Utah Gun Law book and U.C.A 76-10-504(4), Chapter VII, a person who is legally hunting and does not have a CFP can carry a concealed gun as long as the barrel is greater than four inches. I hope Mr. Vilos doesn't mind me quoting his book.

ian
This has been how I interpret the law. And as apollo says, I think it is so you can put a big caliber handgun under your coat or in your backpack for protection purposes against 4 legged creatures. I know I wouldn't want a handgun open carried while deer hunting....too many things to snag and catch on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,098 Posts
tapehoser said:
Wow. Now I got homework to do!
Tapehoser, you can start with that good book. And I don't mean the bible.

ian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
I would ensure my long guns were unloaded while in the vehicle simply out of safety concerns. I find it rather impractical for a long gun to be used for "personal defense" in a vehicle. I do understand and respect the "it's our right" arguments, but as a former Hunter Safety instructor, I see many dangerous things that can happen by having a loaded long gun in a vehicle.

After checking the hunting regulations, it's my lay opinion (I didn't stay at a "Holiday Inn Express" last night :wink:) that you can have your personal defense firearm in the field as long as the barrel is 4" or greater and you have a valid carry permit. I'd personally carry concealed due to the "snag factor" that "PW" mentioned earlier. The problem I have is that I like to hunt with my .357 mag handgun. Seeing that it's a permitted firearm for certain game animals, I can't call it my "protection" gun, and being such, need to have it properly cased and unloaded while transporting it to and from the hunting area.

gf
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,563 Posts
glock fan said:
Seeing that it's a permitted firearm for certain game animals, I can't call it my "protection" gun, and being such, need to have it properly cased and unloaded while transporting it to and from the hunting area.
I don't quite understand the rationale for the need to have the "hunting handgun" cased and unloaded. A person with a CFP is allowed to have a loaded, uncased firearm in the vehicle. Could you please expand?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
It's more of a "good faith" gesture. By having the firearm cased and unloaded, the Conservation Officer will have an easier time to tell that I wasn't using firearm for improper purposes.

gf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So if I'm understanding the consensus here, these would be my conclusions:

1) Does this mean that we have surrendered our right to openly carry a small caliber pistol for defense while hunting?
No, state law is silent regarding open carry--so it's legal. The DWR may or may not like it and may or may not give me a bad time about it. The big difference hunting out in the middle of nowhere, neither of us can make a phone / radio call to clarify the law. It's the officer's understanding vs my ability to explain myself.

2) Does this mean that I do not have the right to have my rifle loaded in the truck (while hunting) like the wildlife officer suggested?
No, state law says it's fine, but the DWR firmly believes that they forbid it. Yes, I agree that it's not a good idea to run around on bumpy 4x4 roads with a loaded long gun, I was just taken off guard by the wildlife officer's remarks. I'm guessing that if my primary hunting weapon was a 6" .44 magnum revolver they would apply the same (erroneous) logic to it and force the issue of unloaded there as well.

3) Does this mean that I can't carry a loaded defense pistol (concealed / open) in the car while hunting?
No, state law says it's fine and no one seems to have any real life experience with this one. I'm guessing that if you were carrying a concealed loaded handgun (with a permit) that was CLEARLY not useful for hunting--the DWR wouldn't say anything? This really has nothing to do with them. You're not hunting with it. It's for two legs not four. The only worry here is that they may read into their rules that if hunting weapons can't be loaded, then nothing can be loaded. Hmmff.

As far as
(4) Nothing in Subsection (1) shall prohibit a person engaged in the lawful taking of protected or unprotected wildlife as defined in Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code, from carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm with a barrel length of four inches or greater as long as the taking of wildlife does not occur:
(a) within the limits of a municipality in violation of that municipality's ordinances; or
(b) upon the highways of the state as defined in Section 41-6a-102.
is concerned, I don't believe this bars one from carrying a sub-compact for defensive carry with a permit while hunting. It never states that smaller barrel lengths are forbidden. If Mitch Vilos' opinion is correct, (which I think it is) it instead grants special privilege to hunters to conceal carry a 4" barrel or larger firearm without a permit.

Thank you to everyone for your replies, you've been very helpful. And it looks like I have a book to buy. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
During the archery hunt, haveing a firearm in your possesion is illegal unless you have a cwp. This is a main reason I got my permit. I dont want to be out in the hills with only my bow and arrows. If I do get in trouble I will have the element of suprise when lead starts flying instead of arrows. :bat:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Being from Wyoming the DWR here has always confused me here.

In Wyoming I have never heard of the Game and Fish caring about this, and even more they have always encouraged you to help them with some of the coyotes and such.
I could coyote hunt year round no license no hassle, here I hear they are nasty and that is not acceptable.

I have also heard people here tell me "Don't go taking a gun with you while riding your 4 wheeler during hunting season". They then go on to into details that sound just like what you have described above. The DWR seems to really care about this stuff around here, and if your not poaching or carrying concealed without a permit, I don't see why they care.

I have always been set in my mind that the concealed weapons law is just that. When interpreting the law that you can be less restrictive, but not more restrictive when applying the law.

The way that I see it this.
53-5-704. Division duties -- Permit to carry concealed firearm -- Certification for concealed firearms instructor -- Requirements for issuance -- Violation -- Denial, suspension, or revocation -- Appeal procedure.
(1) (a) The division or its designated agent shall issue a permit to carry a concealed firearm for lawful self defense to an applicant who is 21 years of age or older within 60 days after receiving an application, unless during the 60-day period the division finds proof that the applicant is not of good character.
(b) The permit is valid throughout the state for five years, without restriction, except as otherwise provided by Section 53-5-710.
53-5-704 defines the CCW law as "The permit is valid throughout the state for five years, without restriction, except as otherwise provided by Section 53-5-710."
53-5-710
53-5-710. Cross-references to concealed firearm permit restrictions.
A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:
(1) any secure area prescribed in Section 76-10-523.5 in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition posted;
(2) in any airport secure area as provided in Section 76-10-529; or
(3) in any house of worship or in any private residence where dangerous weapons are prohibited as provided in Section 76-10-530.
A DWR checkpoint not being an aiport, house of worship, etc etc, then I see no way that this isn't a straight forward CCW law, and that at the checkpoint you can have a
CCW. Your car could be hunter orange, and your socks, shoes and shorts hunter orange, but you should still be legal to have a concealed.

A rifle in plain view not being concealed, I am not sure how that falls. Even the BCI website is kinda confusing on this
http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/LAWcarry.html
CARRYING IN VEHICLES
Only a peace officer in the performance of his duty or a person with a valid permit to carry may carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
It says carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle, it says nothing about it having to be concealed.
I will leave that one to the legal experts.

A rifle in a case / trunk, should by definition now be a concealed and fall under section 53-5-704.

There is no way that they should mess with you for your glock under your vest.

If you have a CCW permit you should also be able to carry when you are hunting, or for that matter out and about during hunting season hunting or not. The Utah Big Game Guide says http://wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/200 ... iggame.pdf
if you’re licensed to carry a concealed
• weapon in accordance with
Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code.
You may not use your concealed firearm
to hunt or take protected wildlife, however.
Bad wording but the fact of the matter is Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 still applies, you just can't pull it out and cap bambie.

Lastly, the issue of can you carry concealed without a permit while hunting ? There were some great opinions above. But in my opinion this is never worth the risk, if you own a gun whether u carry concealed or not u should have a CCW. It protects you from sooooooo many little know laws and debated things, just get a permit, its actually kinda fun.

For those of you with DWR buddies, it is great that they all feel that way, but what we need is for them to point us to code, WHERE, WHERE, WHERE in the law does it say what they claim ? If they plan to write people up for it, they should be able to tell us the section that defines that. I see no exceptions defined for hunting season in Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code

Lastly thanks for taking the time to read my rant, I love this stuff :) If laywers wrote like farmers there would be nothing to debate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
I have a neighbor who told of his brother who, while elk hunting, sat down to rest. Leaning up against a tree he had his 44mag on his hip and his rifle just out of reach. Sure enough an elk wonders over the edge of a hill some 20 yards away. Unable to get to his rifle he pulls out his revolver and takes the elk. This to me appears reasonable and appropriate. Under current law this would, here in Utah, be illegal. Is that so? Shouldn't we look at getting this changed?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Bflamante said:
I have a neighbor who told of his brother who, while elk hunting, sat down to rest. Leaning up against a tree he had his 44mag on his hip and his rifle just out of reach. Sure enough an elk wonders over the edge of a hill some 20 yards away. Unable to get to his rifle he pulls out his revolver and takes the elk. This to me appears reasonable and appropriate. Under current law this would, here in Utah, be illegal. Is that so? Shouldn't we look at getting this changed?
As long as the handgun uses expanding bullets, is at least .24 caliber and develops 500 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards you're good to go for elk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
So reading the previous posts on this thread I am assuming that I will be perfectly fine this weekend on the deer hunt, right? I am hunting in the Northern Region near Randolph and Woodruff, and we are staying in Evanston, Wyoming at night... So I should be good to openly carry my pistol if I want, right? When I want to shoot a deer, it will be with my .270 win not my .45 ACP.... Now what if I carry my S&W model 629 in .44 on my side, and not my Glock???? Is that going to piss the DWR off? I swear half the time the "Conservation Officers" are really nice, and the other half of the time they're trying to find something to bust you for? I don't want any trouble.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top