A bill in the Utah Legislature that would allow adults to carry a concealed firearm in public without a permit has cleared the House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate.
The bill passed the House 54 to 19. Two Republicans — Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville) and Rep. Merrill Nelson (R-Grantsville) — joined Democrats in voting against it.
The bill was amended during the House debate Tuesday morning to require leftover money from the state’s “concealed weapons account” to go toward suicide prevention and education about safe firearm storage.
It’s unclear how much money that would mean, but Brooks said the fund will still be filled by permit-holders, even if his bill passes the Senate.
“The Utah permit is one of the most valuable permits because of the reciprocity across other state lines,” Brooks told 2News in an interview Tuesday. “There’s 250,000, approximately, permit holders in the state, over 500,000 outside the state. So we have people outside the state that will be contributing to this fund.”
Advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action condemned the bill’s passage.
“Once again our lawmakers seem to be more concerned with the gun lobby’s priorities than public safety,” said Mary Ann Thompson with the Utah chapter of Moms Demand Action.
Gun suicide accounts for a large majority of the gun violence in Utah. Gutting life-saving suicide training is not only irresponsible but also reckless and dangerous. Utahns deserve better."
Brooks told 2News last week,
We need to get back to trusting law-abiding citizens, and get rid of these regulations that are not doing any good.”
The bill is also opposed by the Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center. A spokeswoman previously told 2News the training required for a concealed carry permit includes critical instruction on gun safety and suicide prevention.
The Associated Press reports Gov. Spencer Cox supports the bill, which is a change from his predecessor. Gov. Gary Herbert had vetoed a similar bill in 2013.
For the latest news on the 2021 legislative session, click here.