UPDATE: The Utah House of Representatives agreed with the Senate’s amendments and HB60 is now headed to the desk of Gov. Spencer Cox. He is expected to sign it.
A House bill that would remove the requirement to own a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed or open firearm passed its initial vote in the Senate on Thursday.
Currently, Utah allows open carry of a loaded firearm with a concealed carry permit, and allows the open carry of an unloaded firearm without a permit. House Bill 60 makes getting a concealed carry permit optional, including the class, fees and background checks necessary to obtain one. Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, spoke in support of the bill during floor debate, holding up his own concealed carry permit. He says saying obtaining a permit under current state law does not train him in the safe use or operation of a firearm.
“For people who say this qualifies me to carry around my firearm with any sort of training is ludicrous. I can get this without having one minute of training with a firearm. That’s the law today. So, going from this to the constitutional carry provision is not going to increase or decrease safety one iota.”
Six senators voted against the bill, including Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City. She says even if the course is not comprehensive, some exposure to how firearms operate is better than none.
“I feel confident that even at a minimum, you know what it means it be a responsible firearm owner. I don’t know if we’re ever going to say there’s enough training when you have the lethality of an instrument by your side. I believe that minimum requirement is basic.”
An amendment was added on Thursday that would include a suicide prevention and education fund that would be filled with a portion of revenue from fees through the optional concealed carry firearm course.
House Bill 60 passed the first vote by a margin of 23-to-6 and needs one more vote before it gets sent to the governor to be signed into law. However, the bill was tabled in order to wait for the fiscal analysis from the amendment.
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