The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

No NERF guns in Salt Lake City

The kid in the photo? He'd be breaking the law in Salt Lake City—or, more specifically, an adult who allows this to happen would be breaking the law. Here it is:

It is unlawful for any parent, guardian or person having charge or control of any child under the age of fourteen (14) years to allow or permit such child to have or possess, with the intent to use within city limits, any air gun, rubber flipper, or bow and arrow, or any other instrument designed to throw or propel missiles, other than firearms regulated by state law.

What's odd is the other than firearms exception. Guns? Not a problem. A straw to shoot spit wads? Careful, kid—you're at a fork in the road, where a misstep can lead to a life of crime.

Woods Cross has a similar provision, targeting not just children, but everybody:

It is unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm, rifle, gun, pistol, shotgun, airgun, bean Shooter, flipper, slingshot, or other instrument, or BB gun within the limits of the City, except in self-defense.

American Fork as well:

It is unlawful for any person, within the city limits of the city, to discharge or carry concealed upon his person any instrumentality which, by its design or use, is capable of inflicting death or serious bodily harm on himself or another, including but not limited to any slingshot, flipper, target bow, hunting bow, cross-bow, pistol, rifle, blow gun, dart gun, B-B gun, any similar contrivance capable of projecting missiles a horizontal distance of fifty feet or more

And Spanish Fork:

It is unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm, including airguns, bows and arrows, and other devices which project a missile, within the limits of the City…

While few cities go to the extreme that these do, many regulate the discharge of firearms. State law allows them to.

However, other cities have laws that exceed their statutory—and in some cases, constitutional—authority. Firearms are prohibited in public assemblies in Eagle Mountain. They can't be sold at swap meets in Herriman, Holladay, Layton, Midvale, North Salt Lake, Ogden, and Taylorsville (do those even exist anymore?).

Woods Cross prohibits teenagers 16 and under from handling firearms without the immediate supervision and accompaniment of an adult. And don't step foot in a public park with your gun if you're in Cedar City, Eagle Mountain, Hurricane, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, St. George, West Jordan, and Woods Cross.

These regulations—and others like them—demonstrate the degree to which some cities restrict the right to self-defense. In fact, many cities outright ban the discharge of firearms, but make no exception for doing so in self-defense. Greater clarity and common sense regulations are needed to protect the right of law-abiding individuals to discharge certain weapons for recreation or practice, and others in cases of self-defense.