All across America, people who love guns love Utah. That is because the Utah constitution guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms; and also because Utah honors concealed weapons permits issued in any state in the Union, and more than 30 states honor Utah’s permit in return (prompting some to call it the closest thing to a national carry permit). You don’t even have to be a Utah resident to get a Utah concealed weapons permit.
All of that, however, does not mean the state is a firearms free-for-all. That very same constitutional clause that stands up for its citizens’ Second Amendment rights also adds this caveat: …but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.
And define it they have. The website of the Utah Department of Public Safety includes a laundry list of unlawful weapons activities; even those who possess a valid carry permit may not be aware of the complexities of what they may or may not do.
If you are arrested on a weapons charge, the first thing to do is exercise your right to remain silent. The less information you provide to the police, the harder it will be for the state to prove its case against you.
Second: immediately seek legal advice. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will be able to zero in on the best approach to defending your case. Some possible defenses include:
Challenging the constitutionality of the search that led to your arrest.
Challenging whether you were given adequate notice of a prohibition against firearms in a particular venue.
Challenges similar to those used in defending a DUI charge if you were charged with carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
If you do not possess a carry permit and are charged with carrying a loaded weapon in public, arguing that the gun was not loaded, because the state may be unable to prove otherwise.