The gun debate took center stage at the state capitol yesterday afternoon, including a proposal that would allow any adult to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The bill’s sponsor says the proposed legislation is important.
In front of a crowded committee room, Republican Representative John Mathis of Vernal describes what he is trying to do by running HB 76.
“It will give gun owners the assurance that they can do mundane things like un-tuck their shirt, put on a jacket or get out their vehicle without risk of becoming a criminal for carrying their firearm in the wrong condition.”
The proposed legislation would allow for loaded firearms, to be openly carried in most places. By definition loaded means a full magazine, not ammunition in the chamber. Currently under state law, weapons cannot have a round in the chamber if openly carried, something Mathis says is inconvenient.
In my world we use horses still, we move cattle and it is quite common to carry a gun on a saddle and if I don’t have a concealed weapon permit I have to have the weapon unloaded to carry it with me. If it starts to rain or if it gets cold, and I put a jacket on now I am breaking the law. I have a struggle knowing when I am legal, when I am not legal.”
but Democratic Representative Brian King spoke out against the bill arguing the bill would lead to more guns in the state.
“Your bill makes the bearing of guns openly more accessible and removes some restrictions that currently exist on the bearing of those arms publicly? Mathis: “A little bit, yes, in my mind.”
The bill passed out of the House judiciary committee with a vote of 7-2. If passed, Utah would become one of seven states with a similar law.