U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Utah State Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George) has once again introduced legislation to allow concealed carry without a permit, and this time he reportedly has a commitment from Gov. Spencer Cox to sign the bill if it hits his desk.
Brooks’ House Bill 60 will be on the table when the Utah Legislature convenes Jan. 19. An earlier effort to allow permitless carry was vetoed by former Gov. Gary Herbert in 2013, according to the Deseret News. A similar bill was also filed last year near the end of the legislative session.
But the proposal already has Beehive State anti-gunners using familiar rhetoric about “gun violence” and the dangers such legislation allegedly could spawn.
“We are living through a gun violence crisis in America, and some politicians in Utah not only don’t seem to care about it, they are running bills that will make it more likely that people will shoot each other,” asserted Katie Matheson, spokeswoman for the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, as quoted by the Deseret News. “We shouldn’t wait until we have a crisis in Utah. We need our representatives to wake up — these bills are tragedies waiting to happen.”
But is that an accurate forecast? Not according to Brooks, who spoke with Ammoland News via telephone.
“This is a good step,” the veteran lawmaker said. “This is the same bill I ran in 2013, but Gov. Herbert vetoed it…I reintroduced it at the end of last year’s session, knowing it wouldn’t go anywhere, but that it would give people a chance to look it over and give it some thought.”
Brooks said the legislature meets for 45 days, but since this bill is already on people’s minds, it could be one of the first to be considered during the opening days of this year’s session. He expects HB60 to move quickly and perhaps be through the process by Feb. 1.
He said there are plenty of laws on the books that are supposed to prevent the wrong people from carrying guns, but “as you know, criminals don’t obey the law.”
The key to his permitless carry proposal is in the last two lines of the three-page legislation. There, the bill simply provides that “Subsection 76-10-504(1) does not apply to a person 21 years old or older who may otherwise lawfully possess a firearm.”
“I think there is a great chance to pass. It has passed in House and Senate before. We’re getting some push back from the left, but we’re a Republican state and I think most people understand that guns are not the problem. It’s the (criminals).”–Utah State Rep. Walt Brooks
Sixteen other states now have permitless “constitutional carry,” and they do not appear to have seen any increase in violence as a result. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, North Dakota (residents only) and Wyoming (residents only), the newspaper said. Four other states allow permitless concealed carry with certain limitations: Illinois, Montana, New Mexico and Washington. In the Evergreen State, it is legal to carry a firearm openly or concealed without a permit provided the person is engaged in some form of legitimate outdoor activity, such as hiking, fishing, hunting or camping.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Rep. Brooks said he has already met with Gov. Cox and he will work with the new governor to smooth out any concerns the governor’s office might have. Those interested can keep track of the bill here.
And, the Tribune explained, there is something of a “Plan B” waiting in the background. State Rep. Cory Maloy (R-Lehi) reportedly has legislation that would allow people to carry without a license any time a state of emergency in the event of a declared emergency.
Maloy also wants to strengthen Utah’s state preemption law, the Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is out with a statement supporting federal legislation just introduced by Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC) that would allow national concealed carry reciprocity. Hudson’s “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021” (H.R. 38) already has 154 original co-sponsors.
In a news release supporting H.R. 38, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane stated, “This legislation provides an answer to the confusing patchwork of laws surrounding concealed carry permits, particularly with regard to states where laws make unwitting criminals out of legal permit holders for a simple mistake of a wrong traffic turn.”
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