Review by GOUtah! (http://www.goutahorg.org) based on a written analysis provided via e-mail by Mr. Leonard Wojcik. Excerpted from GOUtah! Alert #309, 1/15/2009:
Utah State Senator Scott McCoy from Senate District 2 has introduced a bill, SB 96, which re-writes portions of the state law regulating concealed-weapon permits. The text of SB 96 was released yesterday, and we’re indebted to Utah gun-rights activist Leonard Wojcik for combing through the bill and providing an initial analysis of its contents. Here’s a summary (in paraphrase form) of what Mr. Wojcik found, along with our own comments:
- SB 96 would completely eliminate the issuance of Utah concealed-weapon permits to non-Utah residents. Nobody has been able to show that non-residents are any less responsible that Utahns when it comes to legally carrying a self-defense weapon. Our view is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” especially when the “fixing” would impose further restrictions on a basic right that’s already highly regulated and tightly restricted. Right now, a sizable percentage of the carry permits issued by the State of Utah go to non-residents. We have no problem with this, nor do we understand why Senator McCoy and Governor Huntsman have a problem with it. But then there’s a lot about hoplophobic politicians that we don’t understand.
- hoplophobia (hop’ – lo – fo – bi – a): A form of mental illness characterized by an irrational fear of weapons.
- SB 96 would also change “concealed weapon” (the term that’s used in the current law) to “concealed firearm”, which means that a permit-holder might no longer be able to carry other types of concealed weapons. For example, a concealed hunting knife would become illegal.
- SB 96 could also potentially be interpreted as restricting you to carrying only one firearm, or as at least paving the way for this sort of policy. Which means that you couldn’t carry a backup gun. And, depending on how the bill gets interpreted by the courts, it could perhaps restrict you in the future to carrying only one specific firearm (i.e. with a specific serial number). Believe it or not, certain jurisdictions in some other states actually require this sort of thing. You have to register your carry gun with the authorities, and if you get caught carrying a different weapon you’re in deep trouble. We don’t want Utah to go that route.
- SB 96 would eliminate the current provision that allows a concealed-weapon permit to be issued to a retired policeman within the first five years after his retirement, without the policeman having to go through the full application process.
Although Utah now recognizes CCW permits issued by all other states, we can’t guarantee that this will always be the case. The anti-gun people have been chomping at the bit to repeal that particular law. Furthermore, people who frequently visit Utah but who live in states where it’s virtually impossible to get a carry permit have benefited from being able to obtain a Utah permit, which allows them to carry in Utah and in the roughly two dozen other states that recognize Utah permits.
N. W. Clayton, GOUtah!’s Director of Communications, lived in California during the 1990s. He tried repeatedly to obtain a carry permit in that state, only to be turned down each time because he was not rich, famous, or politically well connected (which is what you have to be to get a permit in California). But he obtained a Utah permit while he lived in California, which at least enabled him to legally carry a self-defense weapon on the many occasions when he visited his family in Utah, as well as when he traveled in other states that recognized Utah permits.