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Should the Governor Veto HB 76 (Open Carry)?

March 18, 2013

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Utah Constitution Article I, Section 6 provides that: “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms. ”

There has been much misinformation about HB 76. This bill simply allows those who may currently lawfully “open carry” to conceal a firearm without the risk of prosecution. Some don’t qualify for a concealed weapon permit but may lawfully possess a firearm. Others simply prefer not to have a concealed permit because of privacy concerns.

Many of the weapons prosecutions in Utah have been for nothing more than a person “open carrying” with a firearm and having someone turn them in on a “man with a gun” call. They then have to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to defend against such unwarranted charges. The current need to “open carry” not only subjects the citizen to legal risks, but also the citizen and law enforcement to unnecessary risk of a shooting.

Furthermore, these needless responses by law enforcement are a total waste of our law enforcement resources. Many who do not have permits simply forego exercising a fundamental Constitutional right (per the US Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, 130 S.Ct. 3020 (2010)).

One of the main objections to HB 76 is that these citizens have not taken a concealed carry class. Imagine if we required a class before voting, choosing a religion, exercising free speech, petitioning the government for redress of grievances or any other fundamental right.

HB 76 will NOT change anything concerning Utah’s concealed carry permit. It changes the open carry law.

Right now, anyone can legally carry a gun–but it must be in full view at all times AND the gun cannot be in “ready fire” which means the chamber must be empty. The problem is that if for any reason a gun becomes covered, like if a jacket flips over the top of the gun or it starts to rain and someone puts on a jacket, then they will have broken the law because their weapon is now concealed.

HB 76 changes the law so that people can put on a jacket but the requirement to carry it with an empty chamber if you do not have a concealed carry permit will remain just as it is now.

Loaded means you need only one mechanical action to fire the weapon. If you need two actions, i.e., cock and then fire, that is considered unloaded.

One shell out of your revolver and it becomes ‘unloaded.’ If someone feels strongly about needing faster action than ‘unloaded’ gives, they can get a permit.

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2 Comments
  1. Marshall Jensen permalink

    If I’m I reading this right: HB 76 basically omits the “in full view at all times” clause for those with out concealed weapons permits, but requires that if carrying a fire arm it may not be in “ready fire” position.

    I understand the idea that it my be difficult and even uncomfortable to keep your fire arm in full view all of the time and I am not a fan of citing or ticketing citizens on such technicalities.

    My question is what are we protecting or trying to protect with a concealed weapons permit if the only difference it makes is that you can have a bullet in your chamber.

    I’m all for responsible use of firearms – just don’t know that this changes much either way.

  2. Tom Milligan permalink

    Until quite recently, I have never owned a firearm. In fact, it was less than 60 days ago that I approached my wife to let her know that I feel deep down that it’s important that we become armed. To my surprise, she readily agreed.

    This prompted a family discussion on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in which we were able to teach our children the requirement that both citizens AND the Government must follow the law.

    Our willingness to become a “gun family” was prompted entirely by our fear that many states and the Federal Government are making moves to limit or eliminate our right to keep and bear arms. In other words, it appears to me – and hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans – that the Federal Government is planning to break the law.

    That cannot happen.

    Once they’ve done it to our 2nd Amendment rights, what’s next? And more importantly, who’s left to stop them?

    The constitution does not require a permit. It does not specify open carry vs. concealed carry. Any laws, regulations, or requirements imposed are unconstitutional and should be abolished.

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