Gun bills sail through committee

Firearms • One bill would allow officers to forego background checks; another would expand hunter rights for concealed carry.
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Two gun bills — one to make it easier for police to purchase firearms as private citizens and one to allow hunters to have concealed weapons with short barrels — passed unanimously out of a House committee Friday.

Rep. Brad Galvez, R-West Haven, proposed HB99, which would allow law enforcement officers to bypass background checks every time they made a private gun purchase because they already have annual background checks.

Galvez argued that by paying fees each time they make a private purchase, it was unfair to police.

But Clark Aposhian, president of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said it was the opposite — unfair to everyone else.

Aposhian said the bill would only apply to police officers and corrections officers and wondered why armored truck drivers or security officers couldn't get the same break. He said the law would allow police to purchase firearms for friends or family as gifts and avoid fees that everyone else would pay — while never using the guns themselves.

"It's about equality for all," Aposhian said.

Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, pitched his bill right after Galvez and faced no controversy.

The proposal, HB117, would allow hunters with concealed-weapons permits to carry — while hunting — a concealed weapon with a barrel length shorter than four inches.

It would also change the definition of a sawed-off shotgun to a short-barrel rifle and bring it in line with the federal definitions in Utah state code.

Both bills will now move to the House floor.

Twitter: @davemontero