The Senate passed a bill Wednesday clarifying that simply carrying a holstered firearm does not constitute disorderly conduct.
HB276 passed 27-1 but was amended and now heads back to the House, which already passed a previous version.
Senate floor sponsor Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said the proposal merely makes clear when someone can carry a gun and not feel threatened by police and also lets police know when people can and cannot carry firearms. The bill does not prohibit officers from approaching and talking to someone carrying a gun.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, asked if the bill would allow someone wearing combat gear carrying a legal AK-47 assault rifle to board a bus, which could frighten and concern others.
Jenkins said that weapons that could be carried before can still be carried and that this bill only applies to people carrying weapons that are holstered.
"But, it doesn’t prevent an officer of the law who is riding from going up and talking to this individual and say ‘Hey… are you out for a hunt? What’re you doing?’" Jenkins said.
Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, said in the situation posed by Dabakis the assault rifle would have to be encased to receive the protection of the bill and also that the proposal still allows law enforcement to detain people carrying a holstered or encased gun, but the firearm cannot be the only reason.
"The possession of a gun alone does not give rise to being sequestered by law enforcement, but anything else: if they’re dressed suspiciously, if they’re dressed in combat, or dressed like a thug … any other element would then enable the law enforcement to engage that person and detain them," Madsen said.
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