SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Jan. 13, 2021) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill prefiled in the Utah House for the 2021 legislative session would make it legal to carry a firearm in the state without a license, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

On Dec. 22, Rep. Walt Brooks (R-George) prefiled House Bill 60 (HB60), which would allow anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun could carry it without a state-issued license. Currently, to obtain a concealed carry permit, Utah gun owners must be 21 years old, have no felony or drug/alcohol convictions, and they cannot have been declared mentally incompetent by a state or federal court. Utah residents would still be able to obtain a concealed carry permit that could be used to carry concealed in states with CCDW reciprocity with Utah.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing HB2 would lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB60 will be officially introduced when the Utah legislature convenes for the 2021 session on Jan. 19. It has been referred to agencies for fiscal input in Legislative Research and General Counsel where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative session.


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