On Friday, March 7, House Bill 276 passed unanimously out of the Utah House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and now goes to the House floor for a vote. Sponsored by state Representative Curt Oda (R-14), HB 276 would provide that the mere carrying or possession of a holstered or encased firearm, without some additional incriminating behavior, does not constitute a violation of the Disorderly Conduct statute. As previously reported, House Bill 276 would remove one of the ploys (charging the person with disorderly conduct) being used by some jurisdictions in Utah to circumvent state law and the Utah Constitution in an attempt to harass law-abiding firearm owners who are openly carrying a firearm in otherwise compliance with state law. There will likely be amendments proposed, however, to gut HB 276 or even turn it into an anti-gun bill
Also on the calendar for third reading in the House is House Bill 373, authored by state Representative Ryan Wilcox (R-7). As previously reported, HB 373 would require that certification by a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO), when a signoff is required for the transfer of a firearm or other item regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA), be provided within fifteen days as long as the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm or other item. Representative Wilcox will be proposing NRA-supported amendments to strengthen the language of the bill and ensure its effectiveness.
Both HB 276 and HB 373 could come up for a vote as early as tomorrow, March 10. It is important that members contact their Representative and respectfully urge them to support House Bill 276 WITHOUT AMENDMENTS and support House Bill 373 WITH SPONSOR’S AMENDMENTS when they come up for a vote on the House floor. Contact information for your state Representative can be found here.