Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No permits to carry guns!

Utah State Representative Carl Wimmer has introduced HB 129, "Firearms Modifications." This "constitutional carry" bill would restore the right of persons 21 years of age or older who are not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to carry a loaded and/or concealed handgun without a permit in any location where it's currently legal for such a person to openly carry an unloaded firearm without a permit.

A permit would still be required to carry on school premises and in certain other places.

Persons who are currently prohibited from owning firearms, such as drug users, convicted felons, and spouse-abusers, would continue to be prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition -- as they should be.

Politicians and gun-control advocates justify the permitting process by saying, "we need to know who are carrying guns," as if it is any of their business to know. The need-to-know-who-are-carrying-guns concept is fatally flawed in that criminals cannot qualify for a permit, will not apply for one, by definition don't obey laws (including permit requirements), and carry guns anyway! Gun crime is almost always caused by persons who don't care about formalities such as getting a permit. So why require responsible adults to have a permit if the criminals don't?

One opponent of the bill said, "Check me if I'm wrong, but if we make it legal to conceal carry without a permit, then gang members can't be prosecuted - they won't be breaking the law if they carry heat just about anywhere they want to." Wimmer's bill does not allow gang members to commit gun crimes -- or any other crimes. It does not change any law prohibiting felons and other restricted persons from possessing a firearm. If we want a permit process just so the cops have something to charge a gang member with, we're taking some very dangerous steps toward tyranny directed at all of us.

Vermont, Alaska, and Arizona have already removed the requirement for a permit to carry a loaded and/or concealed firearm. These states have shown that requiring permits of responsible gun owners has no effect on gun crime or negligence. Because of this demonstrated history of safety, several States are working on legislation to remove the permit requirement for responsible gun owners.

We have more than sufficient laws to deal with harmful behavior. There is no need to regulate behavior that is not harmful, such as the possession of the best tool for self-defense -- a firearm.

Since I teach the Utah Concealed Firearm Course (among several firearms courses), I have a selfish interest in preserving the permit requirement. But, as a freedom-loving American who has sworn to support and defend the US Constitution, I am opposed to this mandate. That said, carrying a deadly weapon is serious business. So, I encourage all responsible Americans to voluntarily receive competent training in the safe use of firearms and the employment of deadly force.

I urge the legislature and the governor to enact HB 129 without any adverse amendments such as that proposed by Representative Lee B. Perry. All other States should do likewise. The criminals need to know that their occupation is extremely unhealthy!

1 comment:

  1. I have learned that this bill has now been amended to require persons with any "dangerous weapon" to notify any peace officer who makes official contact – even in one’s own home! “Dangerous weapons" include a knife or pepper spray. This new restriction applies only to law-abiding persons because, under the 5th Amendment and binding US Supreme Court decisions, a person unlawfully carrying a gun (ie someone younger than 21 or a prohibited person, or if you happen to be carrying in a prohibited area) cannot be required to inform police of his illegal conduct. So, the language of this amendment explicitly (and under binding precedence) applies only to those lawfully in possession of a gun or other dangerous weapon. It has absolutely no effect on criminals. Because of this egregious amendment, I now oppose HB 129 unless the anti-rights "requirement to notify" is removed from the bill.