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7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill enacts language authorizing a cohabitant to voluntarily commit a firearm to
10 law enforcement for a limited period.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 . enacts Title 53, Chapter 5c, Firearms Safe Harbor, including:
14 . enacting general provisions;
15 . enacting provisions authorizing a cohabitant who owns a firearm (owner
16 cohabitant) to voluntarily commit the firearm to law enforcement for 60 days if
17 the cohabitant believes another cohabitant is an immediate threat;
18 . enacting provisions requiring law enforcement to confiscate a firearm that is
19 voluntarily committed if it is an illegal firearm;
20 . enacting provisions authorizing law enforcement to dispose of a firearm if the
21 owner cohabitant does not claim a firearm; and
22 . enacting provisions allowing law enforcement to return the firearm to a person
23 other than an owner cohabitant who claims ownership of the firearm.
24 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
26 Other Special Clauses:
28 Utah Code Sections Affected:
30 53-5c-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31 53-5c-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
32 53-5c-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33 53-5c-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
35 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
36 Section 1. Section 53-5c-101 is enacted to read:
39 53-5c-101. Title.
40 This chapter is known as "Firearms Safe Harbor."
41 Section 2. Section 53-5c-102 is enacted to read:
42 53-5c-102. Definitions.
43 (1) "Cohabitant" means a person who is 21 years of age or older who resides in the
44 same residence as the other party.
45 (2) "Firearm" means a pistol, revolver, shotgun, short barrel shotgun, rifle or short
46 barrel rifle, or a device that could be used as a dangerous weapon from which is expelled a
47 projectile by action of an explosive.
48 (3) "Illegal firearm" means a firearm the ownership or possession of which is
49 prohibited under state or federal law.
50 (4) "Law enforcement agency" means a municipal or county police agency or an officer
51 of that agency.
52 (5) "Owner cohabitant" means a cohabitant who owns, in whole or in part, a firearm.
53 (6) "Public interest use" means:
54 (a) use by a government agency as determined by the legislative body of the agency's
55 jurisdiction; or
56 (b) donation to a bona fide charity.
57 Section 3. Section 53-5c-201 is enacted to read:
59 53-5c-201. Voluntary commitment of a firearm by owner cohabitant -- Law
60 enforcement to hold firearm -- Exempt from criminal prosecution.
61 (1) An owner cohabitant may voluntarily commit a firearm to a law enforcement
62 agency for safekeeping if the owner cohabitant believes that another cohabitant is an immediate
63 threat to:
64 (a) himself or herself;
65 (b) the owner cohabitant; or
66 (c) any other person.
67 (2) Unless a firearm is an illegal firearm subject to Section 53-5c-202 , a law
68 enforcement agency that receives a firearm in accordance with this chapter shall:
69 (a) record:
70 (i) the owner cohabitant's name, address, and phone number;
71 (ii) the firearm serial number; and
72 (iii) the date that the firearm was voluntarily committed;
73 (b) require the owner cohabitant to sign a document attesting that the owner cohabitant
74 has an ownership interest in the firearm;
75 (c) hold the firearm in safe custody for 60 days after the day on which it is voluntarily
76 committed; and
77 (d) upon proof of identification, return the firearm to:
78 (i) the owner cohabitant after the expiration of the 60-day period or, if the owner
79 cohabitant requests return of the firearm before the expiration of the 60-day period, at the time
80 of the request; or
81 (ii) to an owner other than the owner cohabitant in accordance with Section 53-5c-202 .
82 (3) The law enforcement agency shall hold the firearm for an additional 60 days:
83 (a) if the initial 60-day period expires; and
84 (b) the owner cohabitant requests that the law enforcement agency hold the firearm for
85 an additional 60 days.
86 (4) A law enforcement agency may not request or require that the owner cohabitant
87 provide the name or other information of the cohabitant who poses an immediate threat or any
88 other cohabitant.
89 (5) Unless otherwise provided, the provisions of Title 77, Chapter 24, Disposal of
90 Property Received by Peace Officer, do not apply to a firearm received by a law enforcement
91 agency in accordance with this chapter.
92 Section 4. Section 53-5c-202 is enacted to read:
93 53-5c-202. Illegal firearms confiscated -- Disposition of unclaimed firearm.
94 (1) If a law enforcement agency receives a firearm in accordance with Section
95 53-5c-201 , and the firearm is an illegal firearm, the law enforcement agency shall:
96 (a) notify the owner cohabitant attempting to voluntarily commit the firearm that the
97 firearm is an illegal firearm; and
98 (b) confiscate the firearm and dispose of it as the head of the law enforcement agency
100 (2) (a) If a law enforcement agency cannot, after a reasonable attempt, locate an owner
101 cohabitant to return a firearm in accordance with Section 53-5c-201 , the law enforcement
102 agency may:
103 (i) appropriate the firearm to public interest use as provided in Subsection (3);
104 (ii) sell the firearm at public auction as provided by law and appropriate the proceeds
105 of the sale to public interest use; or
106 (iii) destroy the firearm if unfit for sale.
107 (b) A law enforcement agency may take an action in accordance with Subsection (2)(a)
108 no earlier than one year after the day on which the owner cohabitant initially voluntarily
109 commits the firearm in accordance with Section 53-5c-201 .
110 (3) Before appropriating the firearm to public interest use, the law enforcement agency,
111 having possession of the firearm, shall obtain from the legislative body of its jurisdiction:
112 (a) permission to appropriate the firearm to public interest use; and
113 (b) the designation and approval of the public interest use of the firearm.
114 (4) (a) If a person other than an owner cohabitant who voluntarily commits a firearm in
115 accordance with Section 53-5c-201 claims ownership of the firearm, the person may:
116 (i) request that the law enforcement agency return the firearm in accordance with
117 Subsection (4)(b); or
118 (ii) petition the court for the firearm's return in accordance with Subsection (4)(c).
119 (b) The law enforcement agency shall return a firearm to a person other than an owner
120 cohabitant who claims ownership of the firearm if:
121 (i) the 60-day period described in Section 53-5c-201 has expired;
122 (ii) the person provides identification; and
123 (iii) the person signs a document attesting that the person has an ownership interest in
124 the firearm.
125 (c) After sufficient notice is given to the prosecutor, the court may order that the
126 firearm be:
127 (i) returned to the rightful owner as determined by the court;
128 (ii) converted to public interest use; or
129 (iii) destroyed.
130 (d) A law enforcement agency shall return a firearm ordered returned to the rightful
131 owner as expeditiously as possible after a court determination.
Legislative Review Note
as of 1-16-13 9:00 AM