“We need to get back to trusting law-abiding citizens, and get rid of these regulations that are not doing any good,” said Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George.
His measure would allow people, 21 and older, to carry a weapon in a concealed manner without going through a background check or training now required by state law.
“With your bill, people could conceal carry without going through the process, and the gun could be loaded in a public place?“ 2News asked.
“They could,” he replied.
Brooks noted Utah already has legal “open carry,” and maintained permit-less concealed carry in other states has not led to more gun crimes.
“I have a concealed weapons permit,” said Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, who is against Brooks’ bill. “I think there should be more training, not less training.“
The Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center said it “is definitely opposed to this bill,” saying the training for a concealed carry permit includes instruction on gun safety and suicide prevention.
“If you say gun owners don’t need to take this class,” said spokeswoman Nancy Farrar Halden, “there are a whole lot of people who are not going to hear about suicide prevention.”
But while 2News interviewed Rep. Brooks, a supporter called him to say “thank you for sponsoring the constitutional carry bill.
“I already have my concealed carry permit,“ said the caller, “but I think it’s important just to show that we’re not going to let people infringe on our rights.”
Brooks said he’s heard far more support than opposition.
Still, background checks have apparently kept guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification said roughly 2,000 people were denied permits last year.
Former Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a similar measure eight years ago, but new Gov. Spencer Cox May be supportive. 2News asked the governor’s office about his position late Tuesday, and as of press time had not received a reply.