Utah CCW - New “Legal Brandishing” Law
The following is the opinion of a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit Instructor:
First, a brief disclaimer: The author is not an attorney, and your legal counsel may have an entirely different opinion from the one stated herein. Therefore, the following is not to be taken as legal advice, and the author accepts no liability whatsoever for any damages resulting from reliance upon any statement in this article. Bear in mind that it is impossible to predict how a jury may decide on any given case, so please consult with your attorney for clarification of this new law.
This past legislature once again acted to beef-up Utah’s self-defense laws by helping to pass House Bill 78, into law, effective May 11, 2010. All holders of a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit should become familiar with this new law, as it may very well provide the legal justification to help convince an assailant that you are not the helpless, weak victim that he thought he had.
In this new law, which modifies section 76-10-506 of the current Utah Weapons Code, provides that:
- a person who reasonably believes it to be necessary, and
- perceives that unlawful force is about to be used against him,
- can now notify an assailant that he has a gun, and
- may even verbally threaten to use it,
- including pulling it out of concealment.
This is a huge change over the previous brandishing statute, and the author is unaware whether this has been adequately tried in court as of yet. So, unless you have really deep pockets, and are willing to pay dearly to help create this precedent, it may be wise to keep with the advice we teach in our Utah Concealed Carry Permit classes, that being to only draw your weapon if you fear your life is in imminent danger, or that you or a loved one is about to incur serious bodily damage. Remember, if you ever illegally brandish a weapon, you may be labeled as the aggressor, and may lose your ability to claim self defense. If you are labeled as the aggressor in a firearm related incident, it is my opinion that it is highly probable you will be charged with a crime.
Your best bet is always to do your best to diffuse a confrontation, and escape a conflict any way possible, without ever producing your weapon… yes, even when you are the proud holder of a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit. The sole purpose of concealed carry is simply to have an emergency rescue tool available; Never to win arguments… Only to make it to tomorrow.
Utah Concealed Carry Permit Instructor
I am currently retired from teaching. My son-in-law Rob Wilkinson, who used to teach with me, is now teaching on his own. Please call him at 801-671-6773.
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