Utah bill would allow guns to be openly carried

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January 31, 2012

Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: A bill that recently passed out of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee of the Utah State House would require that a person be doing more than carrying a gun in the open, before he or she could be charged with disorderly conduct.[1]

Representative Paul Ray (R) sponsored the bill as a way to ensure a uniform approach to protect gun rights and avoid confusion amongst law enforcement. He said, "Just because I’m carrying the gun, they can’t give me a disorderly conduct [charge]... If I’m acting in a threatening way, they certainly can."[1]

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and the Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center both opposed the bill. They believed that the law would expand a culture of violence.[1]

Proponents of the bill include 31-year old Zachary Wellman, who testified with a handgun holstered on his hip. He claimed that the law was important so that he could feel safe and avoid potential harassment by law enforcement officers who may view the gun as a threat. "It’s important to stand up for our rights," he said.[1]

The committee passed the bill with a vote of 10-3. The three dissenting votes came from the only three Democrats on the committee, Jennifer Seelig, Patrice Arent, and David Litvack.[1]

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