ST. GEORGE – The Utah Senate passed a bill Thursday that will give 18- to 20-year-old young adults the ability to conceal carry firearms through a provisional permit.
The primary argument in favor of the bill is that it will give young adults a much better chance of defending against sexual violence, particularly on college and university campuses where openly carrying a gun is not permitted.
2017’s House Bill 198, Concealed Carry Amendments, is sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, and was co-sponsored on the Senate floor Thursday by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.
The bill passed the Senate with a 23-6 vote. HB 198 passed the Utah House Feb. 21 with a 63-12 vote. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk to be signed into law.
“A group of 18- to 20-year old women brought this bill idea to Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (and) they wanted to be able to defend themselves,” Weiler said on the Senate floor, “because most colleges don’t allow open carry, any women 18- to 20-years-old in Utah cannot carry a weapon on most Utah college campuses.”
Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, was not in favor of the bill. She said her primary concern was related to the age of those to whom the bill would be giving conceal carry permits.
While not recited much on the Senate floor, prior arguments made against the bill as it has progressed through the Legislature have questioned the mental maturity of 18- to 20-year-old individuals.
Escamilla also said rapes tend to be carried out by people who already have some acquaintance with the victim, so having access to a gun, concealed or otherwise, may not make much of a difference. She also noted the state’s high suicide rate, particularly among teens, and how often guns are used in those deaths.
Utah law already allows 18- to-20-year-olds to open carry, Weiler said.
“These kids are already allowed to carry, just not conceal carry,” he said.
The bill would create a provisional conceal carry permit for those between 18 and 20 years old that would become void when the permit holder turns 21. As some 18-year-olds may still be in high school as well, the permit is not considered valid on high school grounds.
Southern Utah Sens. Ralph Okerlund, Don Ipson, Evan Vickers and David Hinkins each voted in favor of House Bill 198.
Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Stanard also voted in favor of the bill.
- Read the bill: 2017 House Bill – Concealed Carry Amendments
- To contact your legislators:
- Bill sponsor: Rep. Karianne Lisonbee | Co-sponsor: Sen. Todd Weiler
- Southern Utah Sens. Ralph Okerlund, Don Ipson, Evan Vickers and David Hinkins | Listing of all senators.
- Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Stanard | Listing of all members of the House of Representatives.
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