Provo, UT asked in Criminal Law for Utah

Q: What defines a "loaded firearm" as it pertains to the transport or storage of a weapon in a personal vehicle?

I am located in Utah. I am doing research regarding the purchase of a firearm to keep in my personal vehicle, most likely a shotgun, for self-defense purposes.

Utah law 76-10-505 states that this may not be a loaded rifle, shotgun, or muzzle-loading firearm.

Utah law 76-10-502 states that any pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon described in this part shall be deemed to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.

Does this mean that I may carry a shotgun in my vehicle so long as a shell is not chambered and ready to be fired? If I have ammunition loaded in the magazine tube of a shotgun that has not been racked and chambered am I still within the legal parameters?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: Firstly, if you feel the need to carry a shotgun in your vehicle for personal protection; you should likely do one of two things: 1) find a better part of Provo to live in, work in, or frequent (whichever is the case when you feel you need that much personal protection or 2) seek therapy for the paranoia that has caused you to believe you need to carry a shotgun in your vehicle for personal protection.

That being said, you are correct that the ammo tube can be loaded and the firearm still deemed "unloaded" for statutory purposes. Two actions - racking the slide and pulling the trigger - are required to discharge the firearm. Just make sure the firearm is not concealed unless you are a valid holder of a concealed carry permit.

Brent J Huff agrees with this answer

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