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Thread: Lawmakers want concealed weapons for (almost) everyone

  1. #1
    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Santaquin, Utah, USA

    Lawmakers want concealed weapons for (almost) everyone

    Lawmakers want concealed weapons for (almost) everyone
    By Brandon Loomis
    The Salt Lake Tribune

    Some state lawmakers want to loosen Utah’s already liberal gun laws by following the Last Frontier’s example and allowing any legal gun owner to pack a concealed weapon without a permit.

    Americans’ constitutional gun rights don’t start with permit training, and they aren’t restricted to the home, said Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem. This summer he is crafting a bill based on an Alaska model to remove the permit requirement while continuing to provide the option for those who want a license that other states with gun restrictions will honor. He had been calling the proposal “Alaska carry,” but after this week’s Supreme Court ruling on handguns he is pitching it as “constitutional carry.”

    “The Second Amendment gives us the right to keep and bear arms,” Sandstrom said, emphasizing the “and.” “It doesn’t just say ‘to keep arms.’ ”

    More than 226,000 people — including 125,000 Utahns — had Utah concealed-weapons permits as of March 31, according to state records, and 13,122 got their permits during the first quarter of the year.

    Utah traditionally has had some of the most pro-gun laws in the country. The Legislature has overridden local restrictions, including a gun ban on the University of Utah campus. This year lawmakers followed Montana in exempting local gun makers from federal restrictions, a constitutional showdown that Montana gun-rights advocates are attempting to validate in court.

    Utahns already have an implied right to carry guns in plain view to most places, because there is no law banning it. To carry a concealed weapon, though, the state requires gun owners to take a safety course, submit to a background check and pay a $65 application fee. The state does not require a shooting proficiency test, which has caused several states including Nevada to stop recognizing Utah permits. Renewals and updated background checks are required every five years.

    The Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification conducts daily checks of Utah court records to determine whether permit holders are still eligible to possess weapons. The bureau searches national databases every few months. Alcohol violations, protective orders, firearm offenses, domestic violence and felonies are common reasons for losing a permit. Revocations spiked from 75 in 1999 to 256 in 2000, the year the bureau began the daily checks. The state revoked 409 permits last year.

    Sandstrom said he is meeting with gun-rights advocates and plans a bill for consideration in the next legislative session. He claims wide support among House colleagues, and Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, is one of the likely co-sponsors.

    “There’s a bunch of us talking about it right now,” Oda said.

    Some lawmakers and police officers are wary of the proposal.

    “We really are going back to the Wild West, aren’t we?” said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City.

    King said he would need more information — support from police officers, for instance — before he could vote for such a change. The U.S. Supreme Court this week overturned a Chicago ban on handguns, he noted, but did not prohibit “reasonable restrictions” on gun owners. Getting a permit is not difficult, he said, and requiring some training is reasonable.

    “We ought to ask ourselves, do we really want to increase the number of people carrying guns around?” King said. “Why is that a good idea?”

    To Sandstrom and Oda, it’s good because it arms people who may be threatened by criminals who already ignore gun laws. “Gangbangers are going to carry concealed weapons irregardless,” Sandstrom said.

    But the Utah Peace Officers Association likes the current permit system. Everyone with a right to gun ownership who wants a permit can get one, said association board member Michael Galieti, a Cottonwood Heights police officer.

    “The system as it is works to everyone’s benefit, and for the safety of the police officer as well as the safety of the citizen,” Galieti said. “We’re not aware of any situations where anyone has been unreasonably denied a permit.”

    Utah Shooting Sports Association Chairman Clark Aposhian did not take a position on Sandstrom’s proposal, but said he is unaware of problems in Alaska or Vermont, the two states that have allowed concealed weapons without permits. Arizona passed a law this year to become the third such state.

    “It’s not a far step from where we [in Utah] are now, really,” he said. “We don’t have to have a permit in our own homes. We don’t have to have permits in our businesses, or even our cars. This is the next step.”

    Concealed-carry permit instructor John Donatello of Herriman, a former cop in Utah and Connecticut, said training is important in helping people understand how to react if attacked. He acknowledged his bias because of income from permit training, but said permits make Utah safer.

    “You won’t find a stronger supporter of the Second Amendment,” he said, but “having a permit is a good idea, or at least having training for folks is a good idea.”

    The Utah proposal mirrors Alaska’s because the option to receive training and a state permit for use in other states would remain. Vermont allows concealed weapons but does not offer a permit at all.

    Alaska Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said she is unaware of any gun-related problems since the Alaska Legislature eliminated the permit requirement in 2003. Other restrictions, including a ban on weapons ownership by felons and a ban on weapons in bars remain in place, she said. But enforcing a permit was difficult in a state where hikers often wear handguns for bear protection.

    “Alaska is the kind of place where everyone and their dog has a gun,” Peters said. The law “just gives the public more freedom.”

    Alaska Rep. Les Gara, an Anchorage Democrat, voted against the change because he thought training was useful. Law enforcement officials shared his concerns in 2003, he said Tuesday. “But I can’t think of a circumstance where somebody didn’t get the training, and it would have changed the outcome” of a shooting.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
    Clearfield, Utah, USA

    I'm a little torn...

    I am a little tore on this. I am definitely pro gun, pro right to carry. However. Training is IMO a very good thing. It gives people interested in carrying a good starting point on laws about carrying. And my instructor went over some scenarios, situational awareness, and how to "carry smart". I belive that if you are going to carry it is your responsibility to know what that means. And to practice with your firearm to maintain a ability to hit what you aim at. I know that people can research and learn this on their own, but the laws can be difficult to understand at first. So is it unreasonable to require some training? Or is it a good idea to require some training? I'm going to have to put a bit of thought into this. Anyone else have any points to consider on this?

  3. #3
    State Researcher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushidonate View Post
    I am a little tore on this. I am definitely pro gun, pro right to carry. However. Training is IMO a very good thing. It gives people interested in carrying a good starting point on laws about carrying.


    So is it unreasonable to require some training? Or is it a good idea to require some training? I'm going to have to put a bit of thought into this. Anyone else have any points to consider on this?
    I do not think it is "unreasonable" to require some training prior to exercising one's rights. But I do think it is unconstitutional.

    I apply a very simple test to any question on gun laws: Would a similar law, applied to the rights guaranteed by the 1st, 4th, 5th, or 6th amendments pass muster or be acceptable in our society?

    I think it is a very good idea for reporters to be decent writers, to know the laws concerning libel and slander, to have some training as journalists and to know the importance of either being impartial or being up front and open in disclosing personal biases to one's readers. But I could never support--and the courts would never tolerate--a law that required training or proficiency tests before publishing or printing something. Likewise when it comes to preaching religion. I've NEVER asked for not needed any government permit in order to attend church, participate in religious exercise, nor even to officiate in any church sacrament (except if I want to officiate in a marriage ceremony and want the government to grant official recognition to that union).

    I can't imagine needing a permit or training in order to exercise my right to remain silent, to have access to counsel and witnesses in my defense, or to be secure in my person, property and effects. What if we had to obtain a permit--no matter how easy that permit was to get--in order to protect our private property from uncompensated public takings?

    Either the constitution means what it says, or it doesn't. If we think it a really good, even necessary, idea to require training, then lets get busy amending the State and federal constitutions to do just that.

    Until then, I believe I have a right to own and carry firearms.

    On the subtle flip side, government does have the constitutional, delegated power to provide for the training of the militia. If they want to require me--and every other able bodied man--to muster out to the city park once or twice a year for a half day of firearms and other militia training and review, I'll happily comply; just as I do to a jury summons. And learning to shoot a 120 mm cannon is probably a lot more fun than answering questions about what I do or don't know about a given criminal case anyway.

    But government's refusal to provide the mass militia training called for in the State and federal constitutions is NOT a mortgage on my rights. It may create a certain hazard to society--just as their failure to do their duty in other areas (national defense, maintaining an honest and stable money supply, etc) might create needless hazards. But government's failure to do its duty cannot be taken as a mortgage on my rights.

    Training should be encouraged and sought after. But constitutionally, training cannot be a prerequisite to exercising any right. Government does have some authority to require all militia members to muster out for some training. But being a member of the militia is also not a prerequisite to the exercise of one's 2nd amendment rights any more than one must be an ordained minister or professional reporter in order to exercise one's 1st amendment rights.

    Freedom has its risks. But to quote Jefferson (I believe), I prefer dangerous freedom over safe tyranny.

    All the best.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jensen View Post

    "Utahns already have an implied right to carry guns in plain view to most places, because there is no law banning it. "
    Now THAT is the kind of concession I like to see in the media.

  5. #5
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    , Utah, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    Now THAT is the kind of concession I like to see in the media.
    Read this article earlier today, couple of thoughts. Overall, I think it is an excellent idea... did you notice it seemed that the author went out of his way to find issues with similar programs in VT and Alaska. There were none, zero.

    I am against mandatory training, in that why do we need bureacrats handing out more laws that are not constitutional.

    I could see offering a NEW type of optional permit that requires live fire, so states like NM and NV will offer reciprocity with UT. There was a side bar article in the SLC trib that discussed this idea.

  6. #6
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    Sandy, Utah, USA

    I am for this Bill!

    I am a CFP instructor and I am for this bill! I am a 2nd Amendment right supporter, so permits are not needed!
    Then if you want to carry when you leave Utah then get a permit, take a test, go to the range and shoot to qualify, so the Utah Permit will be accepted in other States, and it is voluntary and not mandatory. Problem solved.

    No one needs a permit to speak openly in public, so why does one right require a permit and another does not?
    IMHO all guns owners should support this bill.

  7. #7
    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Federal Way, Washington, USA

    Two things:

    1st, other rights pass levels of 'scrutiny'. There are 3 levels; 'stricy scrutiny', 'middle-tier' or 'rational basis' and lower level. The court has determined that 'fundemental' rights must pass 'strict scrutiny'.

    2nd concerning training and licensing:

    Should firearms or firearm owners be subject to testing to receive a license to carry a firearm?

    The Argument Against

    Author Nick Smith

    No, no, no... it says "....shall not be infringed." no training, no class, no license, nada...the government is to be absent from a citizens right to 'keep' (own) and 'bear' (carry, open or concealed).

    Now for one minute let's tear apart this stupid licensing idea.

    You take ONE test to drive a car when you are 16 and then NEVER have to prove competency again. The test is simple, multiple choice and teaches you nothing that you can't read on your own. You take ONE driving test and then NEVER have to prove your ability ever again, EVER. Your driver’s license is recognized in any of the 50 states. Therefore, you can have learned to drive in Alaska with very little traffic, yet your license is good in New York, New York or Los Angeles, CA.

    You can therefore be 66 years old and have not taken a test, written or physical in 50 YEARS. Do you think cars have changed in the last 50 years? The 'you have to have a license to drive' argument doesn't hold water, it is a joke. How many times driving have you said to yourself; 'that old man shouldn't be driving', 'that woman shouldn't be driving', 'that immigrant shouldn't be driving', 'that teenager shouldn't be driving?' We have all said this to ourselves. The argument simply is ridiculous and is now null and void.

    And even with licensing, we still have; drunk drivers, negligent drivers, hit and runs, get away (from crime) drivers, stolen cars, speeding in school zones and more.


    We must all simply accept that we choose to live in a free society. In a free society their are inherit risks and there is evil and there is great joy. Part of living in a free society is that we must accept responsibility for our actions. There are things in a free society that people will always not like and will always be opposed to and never agree upon, we must learn to accept that and yet choose to live together in peace and respect.

    Live Free or Die!

  8. #8
    Regular Member jpm84092's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Question Background Check

    I too am torn on this idea. I like the analogy of getting a driver license. But, a driver license can be suspended or revoked for just cause. I am all for training, but also agree that each individual should get training on a voluntary basis. Getting back to the driver license, an individual may only take the test once, but he/she must demonstrate knowledge of each State's laws by taking a written exam. I do believe that a State has the right to ask an individual to prove knowledge of the law before issuing a permit to carry a concealed weapon. With "Constitutional Carry" there is no such demonstration and the State would then have no remedy except to take punitive action if a person behaved badly.

    The part I cannot get around is the Background Check. Granted, bad guys will carry illegally using weapons they obtained illegally, so maybe that is why Vermont, Alaska, and Arizona have had good luck with their law. However, in my mind, the real benefit of permitting is (at least in Utah), not having to do a background check when purchasing a weapon from a licensed dealer. Another benefit is not having to disarm when crossing out of Utah (unless only into Arizona).

    Nevada may have suspended reciprocity with Utah over the need to separately qualify with each weapon you will carry, but most CWP Instructors I know in Utah require a shoot for their own civil protection. They keep the targets as proof that, at least at the time they signed the training certificate, the applicant met that instructor's minimum shooting requirements. (The guy I trained under wanted 6 of 6 on a piece of typing paper at 5 yards; not terribly difficult.)

    I also agree with an earlier poster. If you want to carry in Nevada, take a trip to Vegas. I highly recommend the folks at - they are a husband wife team and will work with you in your hotel. They even took me to a local range to do my qualification shoot and then to Las Vegas Metro to make the in-person application. (Nevada requires in-person application.) And, they did it all for $150

    Please be advised that this opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it - nothing.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2008
    Moscow, Idaho, USA

    Big Difference...

    One thing that people seem to forget when using the driver's license analogy is that driving is indeed a privilege and has always been recognized as such, while the right to keep and bear arms is a RIGHT! We certainly have justification to enforce training when licensing someone to exercise their PRIVILEGES...there is no justification to enforce training when someone is exercising their RIGHTS!

    As some of the previous responses have pointed out...we don't enforce arbitrary licensing or training rules on people who exercise their rights to free speech, freedom of religion etc, because these things are RIGHTS!! The Constitution of the United States does not give us these rights, it only protects them; they are inherent from the moment of our birth. You cannot justify enforcing training for someone to exercise something that is their God given right.

    That having been said...I firmly believe that any RESPONSIBLE, law abiding citizen who intends to carry for self defense should voluntary undergo some sort of recognized firearms training, especially if they have never had any such training in the past. People who have been in the military, or who have attended or been trained in some law enforcement academy or in some civilian training school such as Front Sight for example, may not need such training. But for the first time gun owner/carrier, such training is invaluable and should be sought out as a matter of course.

    Just as you would go to classes to learn and become properly certified to SCUBA dive, even though there is no LEGAL requirement to do so; one should also seek out and attend some sort of certified training in proper gun handling and usage before opting to carry a firearm on their person.

    But mandatory? NO!!

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