Lawmakers in Utah plan to introduce laws allowing Utahns to carry concealed firearms without a permit. Rep. Walt Brooks (R - District 75) will sponsor HB60 during the next general session starting on January 19, 2021. The bill would allow residents aged 21 years and above permitless carry.
Gov.-elect Cox and Lt. Gov.-elect Henderson support the constitutional carry bill, according to the incoming governor’s spokeswoman Jennifer Napier-Pearce.
“Every single person has the right to protect themselves,” Brooks said. “It’s [about] allowing a law-abiding citizen to be allowed (to put their gun) under their jacket or a wife to put it in her purse.”
Quoting a study from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Rep. Brooks adds that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry without a permit does not lead to a rise in crime.
“This is really not a left and right issue,” Brooks said. “This is just a good data issue.”
Rep. Cory Maloy (R - District 6) not only supports Brooks’ proposal but also intends to sponsor a pro-gun bill HB61 allowing citizens to carry without a permit during a state of emergency and natural disasters.
“People should be able to exercise that right in a time when people may be scared or feeling insecure or in danger,” Maloy said.
Utah Shooting Sports Council chairman Clark Aposhian called the bills “common-sense carry” that would be a “tiny, tiny step in the permissibility of carrying a gun.” According to him, passing a constitutional carry is hardly a groundbreaking achievement but a just basic necessity.
“It’s not like we’re venturing out into something that no other state has done,” Aposhian said.
Pink Pistols Salt Lake Chapter founder Ermiya Fanaeian said that the bills consider Utahns’ Second Amendment values and would remove the bureaucratic procedures for accessing protection. Fanaeian was among the early founders of the anti-gun group March for Our Lives. However, she stressed the need for concealed carry licenses.
“However, with this in mind we also understand the need for concealed carry permits and why they were introduced to begin with,” Fanaeian said. “And those concerns are still very much valid today.”
Fanaeian added that attempts to introduce constitutional carry should be followed by increased funding for community gun safety programs.
Radical anti-gun groups disapproved of the measures. The Alliance for a Better Utah spokeswoman Katie Matheson said the bills would cause Utahns to “shoot each other.” She added that the bills were “are tragedies waiting to happen.”
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