Today, House Bill 49 passed in the state House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee by a vote of 10 to 3. Sponsored by state Representative Paul Ray (R-13), HB 49 would provide that, in the absence of threatening behavior, the otherwise lawful possession of a firearm, whether visible or concealed, does not constitute a violation of Disorderly Conduct.
Self-defense is a fundamental right, protected by the Utah Constitution and clearly provided for in state statute. The carrying of firearms for self-defense in Utah is legal, either concealed with a Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP) or unconcealed without a permit – it is the choice of the individual HOW to carry. This bill does not, in any way, change the laws governing carrying of firearms, nor does it make any changes to what behavior by law-abiding firearm owners is legal or illegal.
There is a problem in Utah where some jurisdictions are arresting people for open carry when it is clearly NOT prohibited in statute. These jurisdictions have sought creative ways to harass law-abiding firearm owners who are legally carrying unconcealed firearms for self-defense.
This bill would remove one of the ploys (charging the person with Disorderly Conduct) being used by some jurisdictions in Utah to circumvent state law and the Utah Constitution in an attempt to go after these law-abiding firearm owners.
HB 49 will now go to the state House floor for a vote. Please contact your state Representative and respectfully request his or her support for HB 49. You can contact your state Representative by calling the House line at (801) 538-1029. To determine who your state Representative is, please click here.