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Utah House Considers 3 Gun Bills

Brian Grimmett

The Utah House of Representatives considered three gun bills Tuesday afternoon and managed a vote on only one of them.

Of the three gun-related bills that the Utah House had a chance to debate, only Republican Rep. Dixon Pitcher’s HB121 received a vote. It would allow an individual to turn over a gun in his or her household to the police for up to 60 days if they feel it presents a danger to themselves or others in the house. Rep. Pitcher says he believes this law will help save lives without causing too much inconvenience.

“This takes no rights," Rep. Pitcher says. "I’m a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment, but it gives to the person who needs this the availability to have that gun away from the house for a short period of time.”

The House voted in favor of that bill which now heads to the Senate. They then voted to circle, or put a hold on, HB268 which clarifies when openly carrying a gun can be considered disorderly conduct. Republican Rep. John Mathis’ bill, HB76, that would eliminate the need for a concealed carry permit was up next. He says he sponsored the bill because he feels the laws are too confusing.

“A lot of my constituents don’t know when we’re legal, when we’re not legal, can I have it loaded, can’t I have it loaded, and there is some confusion," Rep. Mathis says. "And so this bill is an attempt to bring clarity to those laws.”

But Democratic Rep. Patrice Arent says while she understands the importance of the 2nd Amendment, she’s worried about the unintended consequences the bill might have.

“This bill would do away with the need for most people over 21 to take the classes, and they would no longer be subject to BCI background checks," she says. "At our hearing BCI testified that through these background checks they discover hundreds of people that do not qualify for permits.”

After more than 45 minutes of debate, Majority Leader Rep.Brad Dee motioned to circle, or hold, the bill, despite an objection from Rep. Mathis. The motion passed meaning that the House will take up the bill at another time.

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