SALT LAKE CITY — A controversial bill allowing gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit in Utah passed through the House of Representatives Tuesday.
Currently, obscuring a gun without a permit is a misdemeanor, but the House voted 54 to 19 in favor of changing the law.
“This is for everybody. This is a bill for every single citizen, law-abiding citizen, to be able to carry,” Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George) said.
Rep. Brooks is behind the bill to eliminate concealed carry requirements altogether in Utah.
"There are 19 states that have this already. What is the outcome? What is the results of that? None of them have seen an increase in gun violence or even gun incidents,” Brooks said on the House floor.
The proposal would allow anyone 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon without a required FBI background check or four-hour training course.
Gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, support the measure.
Gov. Spencer Cox tells FOX 13 he supports the idea, in contrast to former Gov. Gary Herbert who vetoed a similar bill in 2013.
“The reason that it was vetoed by the former governor and the reason that our law enforcement agencies in this state oppose the bill is because removing this permit will make our society less safe,” said Republican Rep. Merrill Nelson.
The bill would still allow gun owners who want to concealed carry out-of-state to get a permit.
After resistance from suicide prevention advocates, lawmakers added any extra permit money to educate the public on safe gun storage.
“[My constituents] perceive it to open the door to many more people carrying guns that aren’t properly trained,” said Democrat Rep. Carole Spackman Moss.
The bill is now headed to the Senate.