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Should Utah get rid of conceal carry permits? At least one state lawmaker thinks so

In this April 29, 2016, photo, Anna Taylor, founder and CEO of Dene Adams LLC, displays a corset that allows for the concealed carrying of a firearm in Atlanta, GA. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – A new bill in the Utah legislature would get rid of conceal carry permits. Supporters of the bill say it would protect people’s rights, but opponents have safety concerns. 

Currently, Utah law allows people to open carry their firearms without a permit in designated areas.

State Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George) doesn’t agree with the current law, and that is why he told the Deseret News he is sponsoring H.B. 60. 

“Every single person has the right to protect themselves,” Brooks told the newspaper. “It’s allowing a law-abiding citizen to be allowed [to put their firearm] under their jacket or a wife to put it in her purse.” 

If the bill passes, it would apply to law-abiding firearm owners over the age of 21. It would also make Utah the 17th state in the nation not to require a conceal carry permit. 

Brooks also argues there is no evidence that forcing people to get conceal carry permits reduces crime, pointing to a 2019 study by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons that did not find crime spikes in several categories. 

“This is really not a left and right issue…This is just a good data issue,” Brooks said. “So, basically, it does no good to take away someone’s right to carry.” 

Rep. Cory Maloy (R-Lehi) is also sponsoring a bill that would get rid of the conceal carry permit requirement during emergencies. 

Opposing the bill to get rid of conceal carry permits in Utah

However, gun control supporters worry about the bill. 

Katie Matheson with the Alliance for a Better Utah has safety concerns. 

“We are living through a gun violence crisis in America, and some politicians in Utah not only don’t seem to care about it, they are running bills that will make it more likely that people will shoot each other,” Matheson said. 

It’s unclear how much support the bill has. Governor Gary Herbert vetoed similar legislation in 2013.

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