Is it a game of rinse and repeat or are Utahns ready for constitutional carry? As Utah Senate Bill 256 (SB256) advances, Gov. Gary Herbert appears poised to veto it down again. If it passes the Senate and gets approved, it could make Utah the latest constitutional carry state in the Union.
If it gets struck down, Utahns are still required to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to conceal a firearm on their person. As the law presently states, permitless open carry is allowed as long as there is no round in the chamber.
Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, originally proposed permitless concealed carry in a similar fashion as the current open carry law. But he amended the bill to allow a round to be in the chamber.
Is Gov. Herbert’s CCW Logic Sound?
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) vetoed the measure proposed in the Utah House of Representatives in 2013. Among his reasons, he included the need to conduct background checks. As proposed both in the 2013 House Bill and the 2015 Senate Bill, there is no requirement for either a background check or firearms training – two requirements that must be completed for Utahns to get their concealed carry permits.
Do background checks and required training make someone more capable of concealed carrying?
As Utah law is presently written, in order to obtain a concealed carry permit, an applicant has to attend a course that is offered only twice a year (Title 53, Chapter 5, Section 704.9c). What it does include – which is important – is instruction on current Utah law as it relates to firearms, concealed carry statutes, and authorization for the use of deadly force.
That makes perfect sense. If you are enabling someone to carry a concealed, loaded weapon – they ought understand the law as it relates to the carry and use of that firearm.
Should it be the state’s job to mandate that training or the individual’s?
Utah CCW Statutes Need Revision
If Utahns can’t get constitutional carry approved in their state, then at least they should get the opportunity to revise the current CCW statutes and criteria.
When it comes to the background check, Utah has one of the strictest standards in determining eligibility. They are legally defined as a “shall permit” state – yet the criteria they can disqualify a law abiding person is very wide.
They go so far as to check expunged records – which are theoretically off limits (“sealed”) – and even juvenile records.
While no one wants a violent felon or someone convicted of domestic abuse carrying a firearm, some of the odder Utahn restrictions for concealed carry:
(iii) has been or is convicted of an offense involving the use of alcohol;
(v) has been or is convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude;
Moral turpitude?! That 19th century term can be applied to anyone deemed eccentric to the community for any reason. And in Utah, that could literally mean anything they frown upon. Perhaps one of the weakest links in the logic train for denying a person the right to carrying concealed is he or she doesn’t fit in with everyone else.
As for the alcohol related offenses, that’s also a wide brush to paint with. Because Utah goes back all the way to the beginning of a person’s records – including expunged and juvenile records – there’s all sorts of people that are probably being unfairly denied a fundamental right.
Seventeen and caught with a beer? Well, Utah is happy you’re a law abiding, tax paying citizen by thirty but you can still be denied a concealed carry permit.
As more and more states warm to the idea of constitutional carry (or permitless concealed carry), there are some fundamental questions about the validity of the CCW application process that need be addressed by politicians and voters.
Will permitless concealed carriers feel the need to learn the law? How about when deadly force is legally allowed?