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Utah Legislature Passes Bill To Allow Concealed Carry Permits For 18-Year-Olds

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Lawmakers gave final passage to a bill that would allow people as young as 18 years old to carry a concealed weapon.

The legislators sponsoring the bill say it will help prevent rapes and sexual assaults on college campuses. 

But Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, voted against it, saying the legislation would do little to prevent campus sexual assaults. She said increasing access to guns for young adults may instead contribute to suicides.

“We have the number one rate of suicide for youth in the country,” Escamilla said. “And the number one thing they use for committing suicide is a firearm.”

But Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, countered, saying 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds can already legally openly carry a weapon.

“I’m not convinced that someone is going to go to a 4-hour safety class and submit to a criminal background check just to take their own life when they can do that already,” Weiler said.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 23-6. It now goes to Governor Herbert, who told KUER Thursday afternoon he has mixed feelings about the bill. 

“I think there is a compelling argument that if you’re old enough to carry and M16 and go in the military and kill people, we probably ought to be able to trust you with a concealed carry permit,” Herbert said.

But the governor wouldn’t commit to signing the legislation, saying he wants to read it further.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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