In 2016, Utah enacted a law mirroring the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)1 that provides broad immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers in court.2 The wording of Utah’s law is almost identical to the PLCAA.
Like the PLCAA, Utah’s law prohibits “qualified civil liability actions,” which are defined as civil or administrative proceedings which “result from the criminal or lawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition. Utah’s law contains the same six exceptions provided by the PLCAA:
(1) an action brought against someone convicted of “knowingly transfer[ing] a firearm, knowing that such firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence” by someone directly harmed by such unlawful conduct;
(2) an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;
(3) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought;
(4) an action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product;
(5) an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or
(6) an action commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.3
Section 53-5d-103 provides that a firearms manufacturer or licensed dealer is subject only to liability regarding unlawful misuse of a firearm or of ammunition if injury or death results from an act that constitutes gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.
In addition, Utah law provides that a person who lawfully designs, manufactures, markets, advertises, transports, or sells firearms or ammunition to the public may not be sued by the state or any of its political subdivisions for the subsequent use, whether lawfully or unlawfully, of the firearm or ammunition, unless the suit is based on the breach of a contract or warranty for a firearm or ammunition purchased by the state or political subdivision.4
See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.