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2 guns, including an AR-15, auctioned off on school property in Herriman

By Liesl Nielsen, | Posted - Mar. 4, 2020 at 4:05 p.m.

HERRIMAN — An AR-15 and .22-caliber rifle were auctioned off during a baseball team fundraiser at Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman Saturday, causing some concern among parents in the area.

The Jordan School District acknowledged it appreciates the support of parents and the community at fundraising events, but said it does not condone the sale of guns on school property “at any time‚ even after school hours or on weekends,” according to an emailed statement from school district spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf.

“Mountain Ridge High School Administrators did not approve the auctioning off of two guns at a recent baseball team fundraising dinner,” the statement continues. “While the guns were disabled and no exchange occurred at school, we apologize to those who attended this event. Procedures are in place to prevent a similar situation from happening and to make sure all items auctioned at school events are approved by the administration.”

Though the gun sale was not condoned by the school district, it wasn't necessarily illegal, said Sgt. Nick Street, interim spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

It is legal to sell guns at auction in Utah, he said, but the buyer can’t walk away with the gun after the event. The person who has bought the firearm must obtain it through a dealer with a federal firearms license and must pay for a background check before they can take possession of the gun.

To bring the gun onto school property is a little more “dicey,” Street explained. Anyone who brings a gun onto school property must have a concealed firearm permit, he said.

“In Utah, if you have a concealed firearm permit, you can possess a firearm at a school, but you would have to designate who that person is … and they would be in possession of (the gun) until it is auctioned,” Street said, adding that the guns would also have to be holstered and encased.

There’s a possible “gray area” if the potential buyers take a look at the gun and unholster or open the case. In that instance, the owner could even be charged with disorderly conduct, Street said.

When asked whether the person in possession of the guns at the auction had a concealed firearms permit, Riesgraf said that Utah law does not allow the district to ask individuals if they are a concealed carry permit holder.

Street said, however, that if he received a tip from someone about the event, he would first ask who has possession of the gun and whether they have a valid concealed carry permit and whether the guns were holstered and encased during the entire event.

"(The procedure) wouldn't change at a school. I know that sounds odd," he said.

Liesl Nielsen

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