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OpenCarry.org Press Release – March 5, 2008
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Utah legislature must not cave-in to ivory tower gun bigotry!

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HB 473 (originally introduced to merely codify that concealed firearm permit holders do not lose their open carry rights) has morphed into a direct attack on college student right to carry![1]

This pointy headed college bureaucrat power play to force campus gun carry back into the closet was rushed through the House without much debate, and now awaits Senate action.

HB 473 has serious flaws, beyond just presenting concealed firearm permit holders with the clear and ever present danger of criminal arrest and prosecution, during which time the citizen as Defendant must hire a lawyer to prove a defense to the charge that the exposure was “inadvertent, unintentional, incidental, or accidental,” whatever **that** means. For example:

· Open carry at public meetings and gatherings on or off campus is a form of expressive conduct, protected by the First Amendment.

· Villifying open carry goes against the American tradition that it is **concealed** carry, and not open carry,is an evil indecia of criminality and cowardice, requiring a permit from the government to justify its practice. Unlike Utah, most states require NO permit to openly carry loaded handguns in public.

· Pushing any minority group back into the closet is un-American.

· The bill would criminalize open carry even inside one’s private vehicle or on-campus residence.

OpenCarry.org calls on the Utah legislature to refuse to cave-in to ivory tower gun bigotry. But if open carry must be limited on campus, such limitation should be narrowly tailored, not the bigoted blunderbuss that HB 473 has become.

Mike Stollenwerk

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[1]See current amended text at http://le.utah.gov/~2008/bills/hbillamd/hb0473.htm (banning open carry at post-secondary institutions without any exception for public meetings or on-campus residences).