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Utah Lawmaker Crafting "Constitutional Carry" Bill justinkendra

A Utah lawmaker is drafting a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

Currently, it’s a Class A misdemeanor to carry a concealed, loaded gun without a permit. Republican Representative Lee Perry says his bill would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed gun without a permit—and without being prosecuted for a criminal action.

“We’re saying under the Second Amendment, I shouldn’t be obligated to go get a special permit just to cover the gun up,” Perry says. “Because I can carry it open, but why can’t I carry it covered?”

Perry has a law enforcement background—he’s a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol and worked as security for former governor Mike Leavitt. But he says the bill has nothing to do with his experience and he filed it on behalf of many of his constituents who discussed it with him.

Lawmakers considered a similar bill in 2013 and passed it, but Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed it over concerns from law enforcement. Perry says he originally opposed that bill too, but his thinking on the issue has evolved.

“The reality of life is that people who are already [committing crimes] are already doing them and will keep doing them,” Perry says. “Changing this law is not going to change anything about people who are already breaking the laws and doing the bad things with guns.”

Perry says his legislation would not do away with Utah’s concealed carry permit and he’d like to use the bill to provide incentives for people to go through the training and get the permit.

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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