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GOUtah! Alert #290 – 29 February 2008

Today’s Maxim of Liberty:

“The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of
the people at large or considered as individuals.... It establishes
some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently,
no majority has a right to deprive them of."

-- Albert Gallatin


House Speaker Greg Curtis and House Rules Committee Chairman Steve
Urquhart have turned against us this session by effectively killing
both of the great pro-gun bills that passed the Senate. Now they’ve
set their sights on turning HB 473 (Rep. Curt Oda’s excellent open-
carry bill) into an anti-gun bill by adding a hideous amendment to
it, called Floor Amendment 1.

This amendment is sponsored by Rep. Urquhart, and it was drafted
hastily and in secret. It was written so fast that it even has a
typo on it!

The Urquhart amendment actually creates new gun-carry restrictions
throughout the state. In particular, it would make it a crime for a
permit-holder to openly carry a firearm in many places where it is
currently legal to do so. This amendment is plain old-fashioned gun
control, pure and simple, and it was likely written at the behest of
the anti-gun administrators of the University of Utah. Currently,
according to our reading of the Utah Code, it's legal for a permit
holder to openly carry his self-defense weapon at that U. of U.
We've heard stories of campus police harassing people who do this
(which is why HB 473 was introduced, to prevent such harassment), but
to our knowledge they've never actually arrested anyone because they
know there's nothing they can arrest them for, because they're not
breaking any laws. If Floor Amendment 1 passes, the campus police
will actually be able to fine or arrest permit holders for carrying

HB 473, which GOUtah! supports, does not change the law. It merely
clarifies that a permit-holder can openly carry anywhere that he can
legally carry concealed. This is already the law, but HB 473 merely
makes it extra-crystal clear so that it will not be subject to
misinterpretation by boneheaded public servants.

However, the Urquhart Amendment (Floor Amendment 1), which will be
introduced on the House floor on Monday morning, would actually put a
whole bunch of complicated restrictions on the carrying of firearms.
We’re still deciphering the language, but thus far we’ve found a lot
of bad things in this amendment. To fully understand this amendment,
you have to read and cross-reference the sections of the existing
code that define such things as “concealed” and “school”. We’ve done
this, but we don’t have time to explain it all here.

Under the Urquhart amendment, a permit holder can’t openly carry a
firearm within 1,000 feet of any day-care facility, pre-school, K-12
school, college, or university in the state. To do so would become a
crime (which it currently isn’t). Furthermore, under the Urquhart
amendment, if you have a firearm with you and you’re within 1,000
feet of a day-care facility, pre-school, K-12 school, college or
university, the firearm must be concealed ON YOUR PERSON. Meaning
that you can’t have it concealed in your purse or backpack. If you
have a firearm locked in a case, for example, that firearm can’t be
carried within 1,000 feet of any day-care facility, pre-school, K-12
school, college, or university in the state.

Under the Urquhart amendment, if you were carrying a concealed
firearm on your person with a permit, it would become a crime for you
to take off your jacket in numerous places throughout the state,
where it is currently not a crime for you to do so.

Under the Urquhart amendment, an adult college student with a
concealed firearm permit living on-campus would become a criminal if
he carried his unloaded target rifle from his car to his dorm room in
a locked suitcase.

All of these things, and other things, that are currently legal for
permit holders to do would become criminal acts under the Urquhart
amendment. Thus, if the Urquhart amendment gets attached to HB 473,
we’ll actually lose ground. We’ll be giving up some of our existing
rights without gaining anything at all in return. That’s a very bad

Please see the action item below and call your Utah State
Representative this weekend.


Please call your Utah State Representative at home this weekend. If
you don’t call him this weekend, then please send him a message the
first thing Monday morning, as this bill will be heard on Monday.

Ask them to vote against the Urquhart amendment to HB 473, also known
as “Floor Amendment #1”, and to vote against HB 473 if the Urquhart
amendment or any other hostile amendment gets attached. It is
imperative that we prevent the Urquhart amendment or anything like it
from becoming law, even if it means that we have to kill HB 473.
Emphasize that you support HB 473 only in its current form, without
amendments. Floor Amendment #1 (the Urquhart Amendment) must be
defeated at all costs, even if it means killing the entire bill.

Special note: If you are a convention delegate or other office
holder in the political party to which your rep belongs, please tell
him this. Or if you are thinking of becoming a delegate this spring,
please tell him this.

In addition, House Speaker Greg Curtis and Rep. Urquhart need to have
their phones ringing off the hook this weekend, with hundreds of
people calling them to ask them to pass HB 473 WITHOUT AMENDMENTS and
to kill the Urquhart amendment (Floor Amendment #1).

To get your own representative’s home phone number and e-mail, go to and click on “legislative contacts”. Many
reps probably only access their House e-mail when they’re at the
Capitol, so phone calls are best over the weekend.

If you use the phone, just leave a simple message such as: “I’m a gun
owner and an active voter and I’m calling in regard to HB 473.
Please do whatever you have to do to prevent Floor Amendment 1 from
becoming law, even this means killing HB 473 completely. HB 473
should only pass without amendments.”

House Speaker Greg Curtis:
Home phone: 801-943-3091

Rep. Steven Urquhart:
Office phone in St. George: 435-656-4424

Utah State House of Representatives
350 N. State Street, Suite 350
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
House switchboard (for leaving voice messages): 801-538-1029
Fax for Republican representatives: 801-326-1544
Fax for Democratic representatives: 801-326-1539

That concludes GOUtah! Alert #290 – 29 February 2008.
Copyright 2008 by GOUtah!. All rights reserved.


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Dear Rep. ________________________:

As an active voter and gun owner living in your district, I ask you
to do everything in your power to prevent Rep. Steve Urquhart’s
amendment to HB 473 (Floor Amendment 1) from becoming law. While I
strongly support HB 473 in its current form, I would ask you to
oppose the entire bill and try to kill it if Floor Amendment 1 (or
anything like it) gets attached. Floor Amendment 1 would turn HB 473
into a gun-control bill by adding new restrictions that don’t exist
in the current law.

Floor Amendment 1 was hastily drafted (note that it even contains
typos) and, if you cross-reference it with the relevant portions of
the Utah Code, you’ll find that it would add various unacceptable
restrictions to the existing gun-carry laws and create numerous
unintended consequences, such as making it a crime for a female
concealed-weapon permit holder to have a firearm concealed in her
purse if she comes within 1,000 feet of any day-care center, pre-
school, K-12 school, college, or university in the state. And Floor
Amendment 1 would make it a crime for a permit-holder to openly carry
a self-defense weapon in thousands of places throughout the state
where it is currently legal to do so, many of which are vaguely
defined (such as thousand-foot zones around day-care centers operated
in private homes, which are defined as "schools" under the relevant
section of the existing code).

Please vote AGAINST Floor Amendment 1 (or any similar amendments that
might be offered) and do whatever you need to do to prevent it from
becoming law, even if this means killing HB 473.

Please get back to me and let me know how you voted. Thanks for
taking time to consider my views on this matter.


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