Bill would allow concealed weapons without a permit

SALT LAKE CITY – A law that would give Utahns the right to carry a loaded concealed weapon without a permit passed through its committee on Wednesday.House Bill 76 made it out of committee, but debate got heated.

Pro-gun activists crowded a hearing at the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday as several of gun bills were debated.

Siri Davidson, a mother and supporter of the second amendment, was among the advocates. She says gun ownership is a God-given right that even her 9-year-old son should be able to have.

“I refuse to stand by and watch things happen in our country and our state that take away our God-given rights,” she said.

House Bill 76, sponsored by Rep. John G. Mathis, R-Vernal, got the most attention. Under the legislation, Utahns would be able to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

“What 76 tries to do in my mind is to bring clarity to a current patchwork of laws on firearms possession in public,” Mathis said.

But not everyone in the room was a supporter of the bill. There were a lot of questions about what the bill would allow, including possible restrictions.

“Under your bill though you could openly carry, legally without having any one of those things checked,” said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, “But if you’ve been drinking or on drugs you’re carrying illegally and that’s not permitted.”

The legislation made it through committee with only two Democrats voting against it, meaning it now goes to the House floor.

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