SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (PNN) - February 11, 2021 - As the nation’s gun sales soar, the State of Utah has is set to adopt a permitless concealed carry system in which anyone legally permitted to own a firearm - from any state in the Union - can carry a firearm under his or her clothing while in the state.
Governor Spencer Cox will sign legislation this week to eliminate the permit requirement currently in place for carrying a concealed weapon. The Act will permit any law-abiding person over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm while in the State of Utah.
The law excludes convicted felons, those legally adjudicated mentally ill, and other people already prohibited from owning a gun.
Utah joins 16 other states that have permitless concealed carry laws on the books. Vermont, home to self-declared Democrat Socialist and anti-gun advocate Senator Bernie Sanders has had a permitless concealed carry system since its founding.
As recently as 1986, 16 states banned concealed gun carry completely while 25 other states had laws on the books allowing state authorities to issue or reject permit applications to carry a concealed firearm.
The repeal of concealed-carry permit requirements has boomed over the past decade. Today, there is no state that bans the concealed carry of a firearm. Additionally, there are only eight remaining states that still allow officials to reject permit applicants.
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said the new law should be considered a win for law-abiding gun owners. He noted that without the law getting a concealed carry permit could “take up to 90 days”.
Gun-control advocacy groups that opposed the legislation have continually argued that loosening of gun carry laws would result in a rash of shootings and gun-related crimes.
But Utah State Senator David Hinkins, who sponsored the bill, rejected that argument, saying statistics show that broadened concealed gun carry laws have not been linked to surges in gun crimes.
“The three safest states in the (country) have permitless carry laws: Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,” he said during debate on the legislation. “This is not a Left or Right issue; it’s a good policy backed by good data issue.”
Hinkins was supported by Robert Leider, a George Mason University professor who studies gun laws, who said, “Gun-rights groups have been immensely successful at legalizing the carrying of firearms for self-defense. Even many liberal states readily issue permits to carry firearms.”
The new law allowing permitless concealed carry will go into effect on May 5, 2021. It passed by sizable margins in both chambers of the Utah Legislature: 22 to 6 in the Senate, and 51 to 20 in the House.
The State of Utah will still make concealed carry permits available to its residents because other states with reciprocity laws require them for nonresidents within their borders.