Bill To Allow Permit-Free Concealed Carry Comes Back, Passes Committee

Feb 22, 2017

A bill to end the requirement for concealed carry permits was passed out of a legislative committee on Wednesday. It came back from a tie vote that stalled its progress last week.

House Bill 237 would get rid of the required permit to carry a concealed weapon while strengthening provisions against domestic violence perpetrators who try to illegally purchase guns.

Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, flipped from a no vote on HB237 last week to a yes vote on Wednesday morning. Edwards later told KUER that while she still has some concerns about the bill, she wants to see the discussion continue on the House floor.

“Neither of these partners is happy sort of being paired together in this piece of legislation,” says Edwards. “I think in some ways it’s a bitter pill for everyone and maybe it’s the only way to address this issue, is to kind of marry them together.”

Other lawmakers on the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee shared the concern that the bill connects domestic violence with gun issues. Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, was one of them.

“The connection to sexual assault and this connection to domestic violence, I just don’t see the relevance,” Romero said.  “I can’t support legislation where I’m connecting violence with concealed carry.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, says he’s working to garner more support from law enforcement for the bill. Some law enforcement groups have opposed it but Perry hinted that he’s collaborating with them to tweak the bill before the full House considers it.

With Rep. Edwards’ yes vote, HB237 passed out of the committee with a vote of 7-5.