Can someone bring a gun into Park City schools?
The Park City Police Department determined no crime had been committed when Summit County Council candidate Michael Franchek brought a gun to a sidewalk outside Park City High School this week.
The Park City School District has a policy that all people — adults and students — are forbidden from carrying firearms on school property. But that policy doesn’t apply if the person has a concealed carry permit.
On Wednesday, the Park City Police Department was called to the high school for a report of a man with a gun. Chief Wade Carpenter said the man, shown in a video to be Libertarian Summit County Council candidate Michael Franchek, had already left the area when officers arrived.
Carpenter said the man was on a public sidewalk and carrying a gun but did not commit a crime: The man did not brandish the weapon and the students he was speaking with did not perceive the conversation as a threat.
The video shows a man lifting his shirt to show the handle of a gun. Carpenter said he consulted the City Attorney’s office, which advised him the incident did not violate state law.
Utah law allows those with concealed carry permits to carry weapons on school grounds. Those aged 18-21 may have a provisional permit, but state law forbids anyone under age 21 from carrying a firearm on school grounds with limited exceptions. The district’s Chief Operations Officer Michael Tanner said a student, regardless of age, cannot carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.
The district’s policy says that any lawfully concealed firearm must remain concealed such that students and others are not aware of its presence. Franchek previously told KPCW he had been inside the school speaking with U.S. Rep. Blake Moore before the filmed encounter. Tanner said the man did not show the gun while inside the school.
The school briefly locked down after the incident, delaying the start of an end-of-year concert.
Carpenter said the man spoke with two students outside the school, who recorded a video of the interaction. The pair did not appear threatened by the interaction. The students then showed the video to other students inside the school, prompting a call to police.
State code says “the mere carrying or possession of a holstered or encased firearm, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe the holstered or encased firearm was carried or possessed with criminal intent, does not constitute a violation.”
The interaction occurred one day after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Carpenter said Park City officers responded “in emergency fashion” to the scene.
“Anytime we have an instance or statements of a gun present at school grounds, we take that very seriously,” he said.