Utah legislators pushing for looser gun carry laws

Posted at 8:48 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-24 17:43:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY - While the federal government considers stricter gun legislation, Utah lawmakers will look at two laws that would make it easier to carry a gun, concealed or in the open.

Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, is proposing legislation that says that if you can legally own a gun you can legally carry it, whether it's open or concealed.

But Curtis Haring of Utah Political Capitol disagrees; he says Utah's concealed carry permit system is fine.

"We want to make sure we have reasonable set of gun laws, much like the status quo," Haring said. "Do we want to be seen as a state where just anybody can walk around with a gun at any time?"

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, has a bill - H.B.268 -  that would change the law police now use to monitor people who are carrying a gun in public; it currently constitutes disorderly conduct.

"The mere fact that you're legally carrying a gun does not constitute disorderly conduct. You actually have to be participating in behavior that constitutes disorderly conduct," Ray said.

If Mathis's H.B.76 passes and Utah moves to a universal concealed carry system, it would join seven other U.S. states with similar laws.