The 2013 session of the Utah Legislature convened on January 28. The following bills have been introduced, but have not yet been assigned to a committee.
House Bill 76, sponsored by state Representative John Mathis (R-55), would allow any person, 21 years of age or older, who can lawfully own and possess a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit.
House Bill 287, sponsored by state Representative Kevin Stratton (R-48), would require a law enforcement agency to return a firearm in its possession to the legal owner within a certain time period upon proof of ownership.
For firearms used in court proceedings, law enforcement agencies would be required to determine the true legal owner of the firearm and return it within thirty days of the court proceedings concluding. Firearms not used in court proceedings, shall be returned to the rightful owner within thirty days of them submitting proof of ownership.
House Bill 268, sponsored by state Representative Paul Ray (R-13), would provide that, in the absence of threatening behavior, the otherwise lawful possession of a firearm, whether visible or concealed, does not constitute a violation of Disorderly Conduct.
There is a problem in Utah that some jurisdictions are arresting people for open carry when it is clearly NOT prohibited by statute. These jurisdictions have sought creative ways to harass law-abiding firearm owners who are legally carrying unconcealed firearms for self-defense. HB 268 would remove one of the ploys (charging the person with Disorderly Conduct) being used by some jurisdictions within Utah to circumvent state law and the Utah Constitution in an attempt to go after these law-abiding firearm owners.
Lastly, Senate Bill 120, sponsored by state Senator Margaret Dayton (R-15), would authorize the State Forester to restrict the discharge of firearms during extreme fire conditions. Senator Dayton is a strong supporter of firearms rights and is working with the NRA on language that would alleviate serious fire hazards while also not unilaterally authorizing an unelected official to ban the discharge of firearms. SB 120 is currently on hold on the second reading calendar.
Your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you informed as these bills move through the process and as more firearms-related legislation is introduced.