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Constitutional Carry Coming to Utah? The Outlook is Positive

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The outlook for Utah passing a form of Constitutional Carry in 2021 is positive. Representative Walt Brooks has sponsored HB60 as the vehicle for the long-sought reform.

From deseret.com:

Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, is sponsoring HB60 in the Utah Legislature’s upcoming 2021 general session, set to begin Jan. 19. The bill’s language mirrors legislation he filed in the final days of the 2020 session, which would remove the state’s requirement for law-abiding Utahns over the age of 21 to have a permit to lawfully carry a concealed firearm.

“Every single person has the right to protect themselves,” Brooks said, arguing that right should extend to people uncomfortable with openly carrying firearms. “It’s allowing a law-abiding citizen to be allowed (to put their gun) under their jacket or a wife to put it in her purse.”

Representative Brooks says he has the support of the new Utah Governor, Spencer Cox. From stgeorgeutah.com:

“(Gov. Spencer Cox) has told me several times that he’s in favor of the bill,” Brooks said.

As reported by the Deseret News last week, Cox’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Napier-Pearce, told the paper that, “Both Gov.-elect Cox and Lt. Gov.-elect (Deidre) Henderson have said they would support a constitutional carry bill and look forward to working with the sponsors on the details.”

The Utah legislature passed a weak version of Constitutional Carry in 2013.

HB76 passed with veto-proof majorities in 2013. It passed 51 to 18 in the House and 22 – 7 in the Senate. It was vetoed by Governor Gary R. Herbert on 22 March 2013.  From ammoland.com:

In 2013 Governor Herbert claimed that obtaining a permit, attending classes,and paying fees “…does not inhibit our ability to bear arms.”  when he vetoed constitutional carry in 2013.

HB76 was pretty weak sauce. It allowed people over 21 to carry handguns concealed, as long as they were unloaded.

(3) The provisions of Subsection 76-10-504(1) does not apply to a person 21 years of  age or older who may lawfully possess a firearm, as long as the firearm is not loaded.

It was primarily one man, Governor Gary R. Herbert, who prevented Utah from passing even this weak version of Constitutional Carry for the last seven years.

HB60 is a much better, stronger version of  Constitutional Carry. It is a very simple bill. Other states have followed this model, which negates the previous law which made carrying a concealed weapon illegal. From Bill HB60 utah.gov:

This bill modifies provisions related to carrying a concealed firearm.

Highlighted Provisions: This bill: provides that an individual who is 21 years old or older, and may lawfully possess a firearm, may carry a concealed firearm in a public area without a permit.

HB60 accomplishes this in a simple manner. It adds a section to the end of Statute 76-10-504 which says:

(5) Subsection 76-10-504(1) does not apply to a person 21 years old or older who may otherwise lawfully possess a firearm.

The provision covers both loaded and unloaded firearms.

It is likely HB60 will pass the legislature with large margins. It is likely Governor Spencer Cox will sign it. This correspondent has seen many bills die in committee, or through other legislative machinations, no matter how popular they are.

HB60 has an excellent chance of passage. Most bills never become law, for many reasons.

If the Utah legislature wants Constitutional carry, they need to pass it rapidly and deliver it to Governor Cox expeditiously.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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