This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Despite opposition from law enforcement and Utah gun advocates, a House committee voted to approve a bill Tuesday that would allow Utahns to carry a loaded, concealed weapon without a permit.
"There's a lot of fear about 'What if? What could happen under this scenario? What could happen if this bill passes?'" said Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman. "Let's not operate on fear. Let's operate on fact."
HB129 would implement a "constitutional carry" policy in the state, in which anyone over the age of 21 without a history of serious criminal activity or mental illness could carry a loaded, concealed gun. Currently, those people would have to take a concealed weapons course, pass a background check and purchase a permit.
"I don't think anybody in this state's right to carry a weapon and arms are currently infringed upon," said Rep. David Butterfield, R-Logan. "I think the concealed weapons permit process is a great way to help inform and educate those who want to carry arms about some of the laws we have."
Three states Alaska, Arizona and Vermont have a constitutional carry law on the books. Wyoming has passed a bill, which is awaiting the governor's signature.
Law enforcement organizations also opposed the bill, voicing concerns about the lack of checks that would be in place if the bill passed.
After failing to win approval by the committee last time it was heard, Wimmer's bill passed on a 7-6 vote and goes to the floor for consideration.