2011 Utah Legislative Update

The 2011 Utah Legislative Session ends Thursday at 11:59pm.  There are still two high priority pro-gun bills which may be considered along with several less important ones.

Seven pro-gun bills have passed already. Sadly, one was defeated.

HB 129 by Rep. Carl Wimmer is the “Constitutional Carry” bill that would eliminate the need for law abiding citizens to have a permission slip to carry self defense weapons.  This was amended to add an undesirable requirement to notify police if you are carrying, even if you just see your neighbor who is a cop at the donut shop.  Perversely, the law protects CRIMNALS from having to tell police if they are armed, but the good guys would and that makes no sense at all.  Worse, if a citizen failed to immediately notify the cops they could be charged and prosecuted.  USSC worked to get this fixed, but it may be too late to get it fixed and passed.  If unsuccessful, we will start over again next year.  We expected that this might take several tries.

HB 424 by Rep. Paul Ray clarifies that the mere sight of a gun is not grounds for arresting or charging anyone with disorderly conduct.  That is the strategy some government entities have adopted in their latest round of harassment of law abiding gun owners.  That needs to be fixed, so that people who are actually threatening others can be prosecuted, but not an innocent open carrier or even someone carrying concealed whose jacket flips open and briefly exposes a gun.  This bill (which we refer to as “disorderly conduct”) has not had any action and it is unlikely to be passed in the remaining hours of the session, but some really strange things have happened in the waning hours in the past, so we are not giving up.

Bills that have Passed

HB 75S1– The “School zone” gun ban is redefined to match the federal criteria also used by our neighboring states, not an invisible and unenforceable 1,000 foot radius from school grounds, or around day cares and trade schools.  The enhanced penalties remain for gun crimes within a 1,000 foot radius, but mere possession will not be a crime any more.  Common sense reform long overdue.

SB36S1– “Home state concealed carry permits first-”   Applicants in states that recognize Utah permits will have to get a permit from their state before applying for a Utah permit.  This should help halt any further loss of recognition of Utah permits.

HB 219– Designates the John M. Browning designed Model 1911 pistol as the official Utah State Firearm.

HB 214 adjusted concealed carry permit fees down $5 for initial applications and up $5 on renewals to better match the actual cost to process them.

The other bills are minor technical issues not needing further discussion in this alert. Full details on the USSC website http://UtahShootingSports.com.

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