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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I've tried to search for this topic but haven't found anything like this yet. I work for a Utah state agency (Not DPS) and we employ a Salt Lake City police officer to sit in the lobby of 2 of our 3 buildings. I was reading in the employee policies handbook that they ask that only the police officers bring firearms into the buildings. Can they legally do this since it's a state agency? What are everyone's thoughts?
 

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Well, you didn't say exactly what state agency you work for, so we kind of have to guess. Are you inside a state courthouse? Are you in a state-owned mental facility? For a list of places where we cannot carry, see this thread:
Here's a snippet from that thread:
Now, understand that there are places that we are not allowed to carry, even with a CFP:
  • U.C.A. 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.
    [/*]
For a more complete list of links to Utah and Federal laws online, visit this thread: Handy links to Utah and Federal gun laws online
Is your building set up to be a secure facility and is it one of the places where we are specifically forbidden to carry?

If not, then no, the policy is not legal due to state-wide preemption.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jeff Johnson said:
Well, you didn't say exactly what state agency you work for, so we kind of have to guess. Are you inside a state courthouse? Are you in a state-owned mental facility?
Sorry I should have mentioned that. I actually work for Utah Retirement Systems. We administer all of the retirement and insurance benefits for the State and other local government entities . Don't get me wrong though just because it says "Retirement" does not mean we are a bank or have any money in house.

The only security beyound the Salt Lake police officer who sits in our lobby is that we have to have electronic keys to enter parts of the building (I believe this is more for privacy reasons because we hold a lot of personal information).

Any thoughts?
 

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murph said:
I actually work for Utah Retirement Systems. We administer all of the retirement and insurance benefits for the State and other local government entities . Don't get me wrong though just because it says "Retirement" does not mean we are a bank or have any money in house.

The only security beyound the Salt Lake police officer who sits in our lobby is that we have to have electronic keys to enter parts of the building (I believe this is more for privacy reasons because we hold a lot of personal information).

Any thoughts?
Yep. Your workplace is not a correctional facility, law enforcement office, mental health facility, court, college or university, and by my reading those are the only state institutions authorized under state law to establish secure areas. It's also not a federal facility, so none of that applies.

I don't think your employer can ban guns.
 

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Just remember that even if they can't ban guns you can still be fired for violation of company policy. You won't be charged with a crime, but you may still lose your job. Because Utah is an "at-will" state regarding employment you can be terminated for just about any reason and the employer is within its rights to do so.
 

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PetersenRD said:
Just remember that even if they can't ban guns you can still be fired for violation of company policy. You won't be charged with a crime, but you may still lose your job. Because Utah is an "at-will" state regarding employment you can be terminated for just about any reason and the employer is within its rights to do so.
Maybe. This would be a little sticky for the state agency.

Certainly, if they put a rule in the employee handbook about firearms, that would be a clear violation of 76-10-500. They'd be safe, I think, if the rule were never written down and if they declined to cite any specific reason when they fired you.
 

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AG Opinion 2001-2
The Honorable L. Alma (Al) Mansell
President of the Senate
The Honorable Martin R. Stephens
Speaker of the House of Representatives

Re: Your request regarding the Legality of Department of Human Resource Management Rule 477-9-1(5) pertaining to firearms.

Gentlemen:

By letter dated October 26, 2001 you requested a formal written opinion from me on whether the Department of Human Resource Management's rule 477-9-1(5) prohibiting state employees from carrying firearms "in any facility owned or operated by the state, or in any state vehicle, or at any time or any place while on state business" is contrary to Utah law. (1) This opinion responds to that specific request.

Background of Utah's Laws Concerning Firearms

Article I section 6 of the Utah Constitution clearly recognizes the "individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes," but also provides the Legislature with the authority to define the "lawful use of arms." (2) U.C.A. § 76-10-500 affirms this constitutional limitation of authority as a function of the Legislature in order to "provide uniform laws throughout the state" and protect this constitutional right. (3) Subsection (2) of that statute declares, "[a]ll 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." [emphasis added.]

The Legislature has only provided specific statutory authorization to regulate firearms under prescribed limitations to the following entities: municipalities, (4) mental health facilities, law enforcement facilities, correctional facilities, (5) the Olympic Public Safety Commander, (6) airports, (7) courts, (8) houses of worship, private residences, (9) inns, (10) elementary and secondary schools, (11) buses and bus terminals. (12) Because the Legislature has provided such limited statutory authorization to regulate firearms to only a few entities, all other ordinances, regulations, and rules pertaining to firearms that are promulgated by any other local authorities or state entities would be illegally promulgated. (13)
The Department of Human Resource Management's Rule

The Legislature has provided that the Department of Human Resource Management "shall establish a career service system" that provides for "recruiting, selecting, and advancing employees . . . equitable and competitive compensation . . . training employees as needed to assure high-quality performance . . . [and] retaining employees on the basis of the adequacy of their performance." U.C.A. § 67-19-3.1. Since the Legislature has not specifically delegated the authority to enact or enforce ordinances, regulations or rules pertaining to firearms to the Department of Human Resource Management, the only issue is whether U.A.C. R 477-9-1(5) pertains to firearms. By its own terms it does. Consequently, the rule is not only unenforceable, it is also null and void because it has been promulgated in direct contravention of a statutory provision forbidding such a rule. It is my understanding that based on a similar informal opinion provided to the Governor's Office on October 22, 2001, DHRM is currently in the process of rescinding the rule by January 1, 2002.

Sincerely

MARK SHURTLEFF
Attorney General

______________________

1 U.A.C. Rule 477-9-1. The full text reads:

Administration--Employee Conduct--Standards of Conduct.
. . .

5) Employees shall not carry firearms in any facility owned or operated by the state, or in any state vehicle, or at any time or any place while on state business.
(a) This rule shall not apply to sworn officers as defined by Section 53-13-103, or employees whose assigned duties require them to use a firearm.
(b) Employees who violate this rule shall be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to R477-11.
2. Ut. Const. art. I § 6 The text of the provision reads: The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.

3. U.C.A. § 76-10-500 provides: (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.

4. In U.C.A. § 10-8-47, the legislature has authorized municipalities to "regulate and prevent the discharge of firearms, rockets, powder, fireworks or any other dangerous or combustible material." [Emphasis added.]
U.C.A. § 10-8-94 grants towns the same authority as cities, but prohibits towns from attempting "to regulate an area which by the nature of the subject requires uniform state regulation."

5. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 76-8-311.1 (2), has specifically delegated authority to correctional, law enforcement, and mental health facilities wherein they "may establish secure areas within the facility and may prohibit or control by rule any firearm." [Emphasis added.]

6. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 53-12-301.1 (2)(a), has specifically delegated to the Olympic law enforcement commander the authority to establish rules "designating the locations of secure areas within Olympic venues where a firearm . . . is prohibited between January 25, 2002, and April 1, 2002."

7. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 76-10-529, has specifically authorized an "airport authority, county or municipality regulating the airport" to establish a secure area where firearms are prohibited. In addition, the airport authority, county or municipality regulating the airport may use "reasonable means . . . to detect . . . firearms" and shall provide notice at the entrance of each secure area that firearms are prohibited.

8. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 78-7-6, has specifically authorized the judicial council to "provide, through the rules of judicial administration, for security in or about the courthouse or courtroom, or establish a secure area" where a person may not possess a firearm unless authorized by the rules of judicial administration. In addition, the court may also prohibit an abusive cohabitant under protective order (U.C.A. § 30-6-4.2), a person convicted of domestic violence (U.C.A. §77-36-5.1), or a defendant whose conviction is on appeal, while on bail (U.C.A. §77-20-10), from possessing a firearm.

9. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 76-10-530, has specifically delegated the authority to religious organizations operating a house of worship or an owner, lessee, or person with lawful right of possession of a private residence to post signs prohibiting firearms or communicate the prohibition directly to a person transporting a firearm so that the person in possession of a firearm may not enter or remain in a house of worship or private residence with his or her firearm.

10. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 29-2-103 (1), has specifically delegated the authority to innkeepers wherein they may "refuse or deny accommodations, facilities, or privileges of a lodging establishment to any person who is "in the reasonable belief of the innkeeper, bringing in property that may be dangerous to other persons, including firearms." [Emphasis added.] A "lodging establishment" is defined as a place providing temporary sleeping accommodations to the public, including: a bed and breakfast establishment, a boarding house, a hotel, an inn a lodging house, a motel, a resort, or a rooming house.

11. The Legislature, in U.C.A. §§ 76-10-505.5(1) and 76-3-203.2(1), has prohibited the possession of firearms "on or about school premises" or within 1,000 feet of school grounds. Section 76-3-203.2(1) defines "school premises" as public or private elementary, secondary, vocational or postsecondary school. This prohibition does not apply to concealed firearm permit holders. U.C.A. §76-10-505.5(3). However, the Legislature, in U.C.A. § 53A-3-502(2), has delegated authority to "the responsible school administrator" to approve the possession of firearms but only at public or private elementary and secondary school premises. These schools may approve a lawful activity where firearms are present and to be used in connection with the activity. Consequently, since the legislature has only authorized elementary and secondary school administrators to approve the possession of firearms, postsecondary schools, such as universities, and vocational schools have not been delegated authority to approve possession of firearms on their campuses.

12. The Legislature, in U.C.A. § 76-10-1504 and § 76-10-1507, has prohibited the possession of firearms aboard buses or in bus terminals. In § 1504, the legislature made it a second degree felony for a person to board a bus while carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, but the legislature has provided an exception for "a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon." However in § 1507 the legislature has made it a third degree felony for a person to carry a firearm into a bus terminal or aboard a bus and there is no exception for a concealed weapon permit holder. In 76-10-1507, the Legislature has authorized the bus company to "employ reasonable means, including mechanical, electronic or x-ray devices to detect [a firearm] concealed in baggage or upon the person of any passenger. Upon the discovery of any [firearm], the company may obtain possession and retain custody thereof until it is transferred to a peace officer."

13. The administrative rule that is the subject of your inquiry, R 477-9-1(5) may not be the only rule that has been promulgated without authorization from the Legislature. For instance, your letter requesting this opinion had as an attachment, Formal Opinion No. 98-01 from the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. That opinion concludes that the University of Utah's policy prohibiting students and faculty from possessing firearms on University premises was contrary to law. [As of this date, those policies are still listed in the University of Utah Policy and Procedures Manual: Policy: 8-10, Rev. 3, July 14, 1997 and Policy 2-9, Rev. 7, July 13, 1998 Section IV Subsection F.] I agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the Legislative General Counsel that those policies are unlawful and in violation of the laws of this State.

http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/AGOpinion2001-2.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow! This is all great information! You all are awesome for putting this all up on the thread. Well what I thought I would do is since I always take a backpack with me to work I was thinking about concealing in that. There's a hidden pocket in it that's easily accessible and this would ensure that no one would find out I had a weapon unless I was absolutely forced to use it. Any thoughts?

Lastly my biggest motivation for carrying to work is that I take the bus into work every day and I have to transfer in the middle of downtown. I've had several very shady looking individuals approach me there but none have been hostile at this point. I was told in my CFP class that it's legal to carry on UTA busses. Is this the case?

Thanks again for all of your help!
 

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Wow! Thanks for linking to that, Don. That's very plain and clear.
I've added that into my Handy Links thread.

murph said:
...
I was told in my CFP class that it's legal to carry on UTA busses. Is this the case?
...
You are good to go. There is no law against a CFP-holder carrying on UTA buses.
 

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PetersenRD said:
Just remember that even if they can't ban guns you can still be fired for violation of company policy. You won't be charged with a crime, but you may still lose your job. Because Utah is an "at-will" state regarding employment you can be terminated for just about any reason and the employer is within its rights to do so.
How can the person be fired if the Company "policy" IS in VIOLATION of STATE law. From what I can understand it's a STATE ENTITY where the OP works at.

76-10-500. Uniform law.
(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.
Enacted by Chapter 5, 1999 General Session
Download Code Section Zipped WordPerfect 76_10_050000.ZIP 2,133 Bytes

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sections in this Chapter|Chapters in this Title|All Titles|Legislative Home Page

Last revised: Thursday, May 01, 2008
 

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murph said:
Wow! This is all great information! You all are awesome for putting this all up on the thread. Well what I thought I would do is since I always take a backpack with me to work I was thinking about concealing in that. There's a hidden pocket in it that's easily accessible and this would ensure that no one would find out I had a weapon unless I was absolutely forced to use it. Any thoughts?
Only one: There are a lot of disadvantages to off-body carry. Too easy for someone else to get your gun, too easy to put it down and forget it somewhere, too likely to have it out of reach when you need it. It's better to keep your sidearm attached to you. There are plenty of options for good on-body concealment, making it very unlikely that you'll get "made". And, with the AG behind you, it doesn't seem like it should be a big issue if you do get made.

Rather than the backpack, I'd suggest a SmartCarry, or a Crossbreed Supertuck, or if you're wearing a sport jacket or something, an OWB holster.

In any case, thanks to Car Knocker's excellent find, you are free to explore all your options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
swillden said:
Rather than the backpack, I'd suggest a SmartCarry, or a Crossbreed Supertuck, or if you're wearing a sport jacket or something, an OWB holster.
Thanks for the suggestion swillden, I've googled all of the different options and I'm looking into then rather than the backpack. You have a valid point. I'm just so glad I joined this forum. With so many leather neck carriers here I've got access to a wealth of knowledge. And thanks again to Car Knocker too!.

Murph
 

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I hope my previous post didn't come across as being offensive. I forgot to recognize that working for the state gives you other protections that may not exist in the private sector. Good luck with your efforts and be safe. Those UTA buses can get a little scary. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok so I want to get one more opinion from you guys. Since it is a written policy that employees can't carry their firearms into the buildings should I bring it up with someone to get it changed. Any ideas how I should go about doing this or if I should bother at all?
 

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murph said:
Ok so I want to get one more opinion from you guys. Since it is a written policy that employees can't carry their firearms into the buildings should I bring it up with someone to get it changed. Any ideas how I should go about doing this or if I should bother at all?
Chances are bringing it up (unless you are an upper executive) will only lead to negative consequences for you. If the place where you work is not a secure location and your family would not be devastated if you were fired (if, somehow, someone found out), I would just follow the don't ask, don't tell policy. Keep your mouth shut and deep conceal.
 

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murph said:
Ok so I want to get one more opinion from you guys. Since it is a written policy that employees can't carry their firearms into the buildings should I bring it up with someone to get it changed. Any ideas how I should go about doing this or if I should bother at all?
Rather than bringing it up with your boss, which might get you some unwanted attention, you may want to just write a letter to the Attorney General and ask him to address the matter. I'd mention that you're concerned about your name being involved in the situation, and ask him to keep you out of it. I think he'd take the appropriate action.
 

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swillden said:
Rather than bringing it up with your boss, which might get you some unwanted attention, you may want to just write a letter to the Attorney General and ask him to address the matter. I'd mention that you're concerned about your name being involved in the situation, and ask him to keep you out of it. I think he'd take the appropriate action.
That's a very good idea. As the chief law-enforcement officer of the state, it would be good for AG Shurtleff to know of this violation of state law.
 

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Found the policy on state employee's and firearms. I have never read anything that clarifies where they ammended the policy. Here it is:

http://www.hspolicy.utah.gov/pdf/2-13.pdf

II. POLICY
A. The Department does not tolerate any type of workplace violence committed by or
against employees, clients, the general public and/or property. Employees are prohibited
from making threats or engaging in violent activities in the workplace. This policy does
not inhibit or restrict the otherwise legal possession or use of firearms.
 

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One thing to remember about carrying concealed against policy (even if it IS an illegal policy), if you have somebody in management that is against carrying firearms and they find out you are carrying (even legally), you still risk being fired. It is kind of like a traffic stop... if a cop looks hard enough, he will be able to find SOMETHING to give you a ticket about. If you are carrying against company policy and somebody decides to fire you because of it, they can make up any number of excuses or reasons to let you go and never even have to say anything about you carrying your firearm. 99% of the time they will be able to find something to be a valid reason for termination if they look hard enough. Their reason may even be very transparent, but in an "at will" state, any reason is sufficient to support a termination.

On the other hand, if your firearm is deeply concealed, you have little to worry about for detection unless you are careless with it (or extremely unlucky). Keep it concealed and act responsibly and "what they don't know won't hurt them".

Good luck
 
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