This is an archived article that was published on in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

But few think it will immediately affect them.

"Any decision would not resolve it instantly," said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who signed a brief with several other attorneys general encouraging the Supreme Court to take the case and to overturn the gun ban in Washington, D.C. "It would be a question of state law [in Utah], and the state Constitution makes it very clear that it's an individual right."

He predicts that a broad ruling saying the right to bear arms is not an individual right would affect Utah only after a lawsuit.

He also predicts a bevy of challenges if the ruling goes the other way, with gun-rights advocates suing for open-carry and definitions of which guns would be considered legal under the Constitution.

Steven H. Gunn, a Utah attorney and a gun-control advocate, says the court could go either way on the question whether gun ownership is an individual right or one belonging to "well-regulated militias."

"The court may say that reasonable regulations of firearms are still permissible under the Second Amendment, but they likely will limit their opinion to federal law," he said. "No matter what happens, it will still be up to states to regulate."

That comes as a relief to many gun-rights advocates, who say they feel protected by Utah's Constitution.

"I don't think the decision will do anything to Utah. We already have some of the most permissive firearm laws in the nation and an understanding of the U.S. and Utah constitution that it's an individual right and it's for self-defense," said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.

He doesn't see any changes coming to Utah for several years because the state Legislature has always operated under the state Constitution, he said.

"I don't have a wish list that would be realized or put into motion were this to come down in our favor on a state level," Aposhian said.

Charles Hardy, policy director for Gun Owners of Utah, agrees.

"We stand to gain a lot more than we stand to lose," Hardy said. "The worst possible outcome is a very narrow ruling that leaves a lot of ambiguity. If the court goes the right way, my fight gets a lot easier. But if it goes the wrong way, on a state level it's already clear. On a federal level, we continue fighting."

comments powered by Disqus