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Maybe Third Time’s A Charm? Utahns Brace For Gov. Herbert’s Decision On Permitless Concealed Carry

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — In 2013, permitless concealed carry passed all the hurdles of the Utah legislature and landed on Governor Will Herbert’s desk. Result? Insta-veto. Bam! Last year, permitless concealed carry begins to creep up through the vine of the legislature and it doesn’t even make it to his desk.

Welcome to Current Year + 2. Governor Will Herbert has stated that if HB 237, which would allow Utahns to carry concealed without a permit, makes it to his desk, he will veto it so long as it is reminiscent of prior attempts.

Of course, it’s couched in gentle terms.

According to one analysis of the upcoming bill, via Utah Policy.com, the chances of such a bill passing on its own merits are grim. However, no one can’t claim that politicians aren’t crafty creatures.

Curtis S. Bramble, Senate sponsor of this bill, has tied it inextricably to enhanced prohibition against domestic violence.

via Utah Legislature’s HB 237

This bill:

  • states that certain concealed carry prohibitions do not apply to an individual 21 years of age or older who may lawfully possess a firearm;
  • requires a court to impose a protective order on a perpetrator of domestic violence as a condition of probation or plea in abeyance that puts the perpetrator on notice that the perpetrator is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal law, among other requirements;
  • requires the Bureau of Criminal Identification to inform local law enforcement when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a weapon from a firearms dealer;
  • enhances the level of offense for domestic violence when the perpetrator is in possession of a dangerous weapon to a class A misdemeanor; etc…

Basically, domestic violence victims have a lot more legal protections while allowing the majority of the population not committing domestic violence to carry a firearm so long as they are legally permitted to possess one.

Will the bait work?

That’s where policy analysts are divided.

According to Utah Policy’s analysis of the bill, “someone convicted of domestic violence has to prove within 72 hours they’ve disposed of their guns if a judge orders it, and a judge must inform someone who is convicted of domestic violence that they are losing their 2nd Amendment rights.”

So permitless concealed carry could be feasible so long as those convicted of domestic violence are absolutely prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.

The bill is still being debated within the Senate and the House. If approved, it will be a much more complicated decision for Gov. Will Herbert. Many Senate politicians argue that the concealed carry laws already in place work great for their citizens. Utah does have a fantastic concealed carry reciprocity rate with other states and their laws are generally very permissive of gun ownership and concealed carry. However, what are the acceptable limits on the Second Amendment? That’s truly the question in debate insofar as state’s rights are concerned.

Policy analysts, at present, seem timid on declaring whether or not the governor will come out against this deregulation.

Deregulation. The process whereby the government asserts its rights over the people and then cedes those rights. It’s complicated and it really shouldn’t be. Local, state, and federal, there’s always one thing they will always share: they don’t like to give up power.

They’re going to use all sorts of allegations of the abuses that some — in some cases legitimately — bad people will take as a result of deregulation.

However, it’s an individual’s express liberty to bear arms.

How then should the state government respond?

In this particular case, I think the state legislature may have a good case for establishing permitless concealed carry. So long as those who are not lawfully allowed from possessing firearms are correctly reported from the courts to law enforcement, there should be sufficient process to deal with them should any of them violate conditions of the law.

By increasing the penalty for possession of a firearm, Utah is also incentivizing those who are accused of domestic violence of obeying the provisions.

Carrot and stick, method.

For the law-abiding citizen of the proper age and record, a gun is your right. For those who prey upon others, break laws, inflict injury, the penalty is made harsher and word is spread more uniformly.

This could be a real opportunity for Utah to join the permitless concealed carry wave while still adhering to the values we have as law-abiding Americans. I hope Gov. Herbert sees it the same way.

In the meantime, there’s a great concealed carry program in Utah and I heartily recommend that if you’re able to, push through and get that permit. Carrying every single day is a great way to ensure your safety comes before that of the criminal.

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