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Legislature: Carrying gun is not disorderly conduct

To governor » Bill passes to clarify that merely carrying a gun does not break law.

First Published Mar 13 2014 02:46 pm • Last Updated Mar 13 2014 09:28 pm

A bill clarifying that simply carrying a firearm in a holster or enclosed case does not constitute disorderly conduct is on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

The House voted 63-8 Thursday to approve Senate amendments to HB276 and provide final passage.

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Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, the bill’s sponsor, said in earlier debate that sometimes people preparing to go hunting or carrying a holstered gun but making no threatening gestures or comments have been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct because someone else felt uncomfortable. He said that infringes on Second Amendment rights.

Oda said if a police officer saw "any threatening behavior or comments ... he can take immediate action" and arrest the person. Otherwise, he said officers would need to "engage in friendly conversation to see if everything’s OK, and do an attitude check" and keep watch on that person.

Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, said in earlier debate that as a former prosecutor, he believes the bill could allow almost anyone to argue they were wrongfully charged because their actions were misunderstood, and opposed the bill.

Rep. Earl Tanner, R-West Jordan, said people who carry weapons openly in places such as shopping malls without thinking that it causes others to "have concern for their safety … seems to be ignoring reality."

But House Republican Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said the bill simply allows people to act as permitted currently by state law without being arrested for disorderly conduct.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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