FLAGGED BILL: HB 76 – Concealed Weapon Carry Amendments, Rep. Mathis

utah republican representative john mathis
Rep. John Mathis (R)

Last Tuesday, we first alerted you to HB 76 – Concealed Weapon Carry Amendments from Representative John Mathis (R -Vernal). At the time, we incorrectly reported that the bill would allow individuals over the age of 21 to enter private property with a concealed weapon without the permission of, say, a homeowner.

Well, we were wrong in that assessment – as it turns out, HB 76 has far larger implications.

HB 76 would not allow people to simply walk into a business or public park without disclosing the fact that they had a weapon – rather it goes a step further and would, if passed, turn Utah into what is known as a “Constitutional Carry” state.

The principal behind a Constitutional Carry law originates from a strict and narrow reading of the Second Amendment, stating that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” To that end, a Constitutional Carry state would have no laws whatsoever regarding the right of citizens to own and carry a weapon.

At its most extreme, this would include criminals and children, however lawmakers recognize that there is a public interest in keeping weapons out of the hands of these (and other) types of individuals. The less-extreme version that Representative Mathis is proposing would allow anyone who can legally possess a weapon over the age of 21 to carry a gun (open or concealed) in public without a concealed weapons permit.

Four other states have full Constitutional Carry laws, and New Mexico allows it under the provision that the gun is unloaded. If Utah were to pass Mathis’ proposal, we have to ask what image this would project to both the citizenry and tourists. The status quo currently requires that individuals be trained in weapon maintenance and handling before they carry concealed weapon in public – this reasonable provision allows individuals the right to carry a weapon and allows the public at large to know that, if a gun is concealed around them, the individual has been trained in gun usage – if HB 76 were to pass, Utah would be taking a step back to the Wild West where just about anyone could carry a hidden weapon.

We should add that if this bill were to pass in tandem with Paul Ray’s (R – Clearfield) HB 268 – Disorderly Conduct Amendments, law enforcement could have a difficult time putting the citizenry at ease when a gun does appear in public. To remind you, Ray’s bill states that a person is not inherently causing disorderly conduct in public – even if other individuals feel threatened by the presence of the gun. By themselves, these two bills will work to give the perception that Utah places greater importance on the right of an individual to carry a gun than the right of the public not to feel threatened by gun violence – but if these two bills were to pass, it is all but certain that Utah will be perceived as backward when it comes to gun laws.

Individuals have the right to bear arms, and they have the right to carry those weapons in public so long as they have received proper training. What Representative Mathis is disregarding with this proposed bill is that people also have the right to feel secure and safe in public. By having weapons concealed, those who feel threatened by weapons can still be blissfully unaware – but, by having weapons about and in the open, Representative Mathis will effectively be creating an environment where people feel unsafe around their fellow law-abiding citizens. In the end, we have to ask if we really want to live in a state where people would feel under threat from their neighbors.

To contact Rep. Mathis, Click Here or call 435-789-7316

Impact on Average Utahn:

High Impact   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0   No Impact


Necessary   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0  Unnecessary

Overall Ranking:

Great Bill  5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5  Poor Bill

9 Replies to “FLAGGED BILL: HB 76 – Concealed Weapon Carry Amendments, Rep. Mathis

  1. Unalienable rights pre-exist any government, and therefore cannot be successfully removed or controlled by government, with two exceptions. The first exception is when a crime is committed, the second is when society at large expects government to control.

    “Crime” is NOT what the government considers to be wrong. Instead, it is harm or injury that one person or group of people causes to another person or group of people. If a person or group of people uses their rights to harm other people, government has a legitimate role of regulating such individuals’ rights to keep them from repeating the harm; however, this may ONLY be legitimately done AFTER such people have acted to harm others.

    By infringing upon rights, government inherently causes harm to multiple people. Thus, government, as a group of people, can commit multiple crimes while declaring itself correct. If government tries to pre-emptively regulate, control, or remove rights, it will, without fail, criminally victimize innocent people without recourse.

    The second situation where government can successfully control rights is one that is only transitory, and thus is ultimately unsuccessful. When a government controls rights because a majority of the citizenry expects it, such a government will often swell its own size by creating more and more dependent citizens until it collapses under its own weight (e.g. the recently deceased Soviet Union–this is also the process our own government is currently passing through).

    The right to own yourself is the pre-eminent right from which all others are derived. Inherent in the right to own yourself, is the right to arm yourself for self defense in whatever way you see is best. It matters not if your weapons are concealed or open, government has no right to control that aspect unless you’ve already proven yourself unable to arm yourself without causing harm to others.

    Thus, the only good purpose for government is the one stated in the Declaration of Independence–that governments are instituted among humans to protect rights, and any government that becomes destructive to those ends should be abolished or changed. It further states that it is the responsibility of the citizens of the destructive government to abolish or change it.

    By advocating against a bill that is oriented toward protecting rights, you have abdicated your responsibilities as free citizens and you deserve the resulting oppressive government that will destroy your rights.

    On the other hand, if you want to learn more about freedom and are highly literate, Montesquieu, Locke, and Cicero are excellent starting points. If you have difficulty with the language used by those authors, then Bastiat may be more your speed. They all express very similar ideas, but in very different ways.

    Ultimately it comes down to freedom or slavery. Desiring government to provide safety ultimately is identical to desiring government to provide slavery as well. On the other hand, freedom does not directly provide safety, but a free people that are able to protect themselves and enjoy being part of a free community are among the safest in the world.

  2. You might want to clarify this sentence.

    “Individuals have the right to bear arms, and they have the right to carry those weapons in public so long as they have received proper training.”

    You don’t need to have any training if you openly carry a weapon. This is only true for those who have a Concealed Carry Permit.

  3. I believe small and large businesses could be negatively affected by untrained, unregistered individuals carrying guns into stores, restaurants, and other enterprises. Patrons, especially families, fearing violence, might immediately leave. Business owners could lose a significant amount of money. Legislators should consider this impact before they remove current restrictions on gun owners and what constitutes disorderly conduct.

    1. In response to your comment: Under this bill any homeowner or business has the right to exclude anyone they choose, so if a business owner feels that having a visible gun is a negative they can exercise that right by asking them to leave or to take it outside and lock it in the car. This is a poor argument used by the left and I for one am happy to see more people openly carrying firearms as it is a huge crime deterent! in city after city where open carry laws have been passed and open carry is encouraged, the crime rates have plummeted. The worst crime rates in the country are the cities and states with the toughest anti gun laws. Bravo Rep. Mathis! and Bravo both houses for passing this legislation!

  4. The author of this article is trying to make it look like you need training to carry a firearm. In reality it is perfectly legal to carry a handgun in the open, known as open carry, without any training as long as it is two actions from firing. I regularly carry openly and anytime someone approaches me it is usually to say the like what I am doing. It is a deterent from anyone who might be thinking of doing anyone any harm. Most people who do carry usually shoot on a regular basis anyways. By making Utah a constitution carry state it would just reaffirm a 2nd ammendment rights. It would also be nice to travel from Wyoming to Arizona and have the same protection as they are both constitution carry and border Utah. Please call your representatives and let them know you support HB76 and if you own a handgun feel free to open carry. Utah also allows you to carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle concealed or not. These are your rights, exercise them people.

  5. I support both these bills, Utah is a great state and should set the pace that we support the Bill Of Rights, unlike New York who’s government would rather arm criminals.. I’m proud to know there are people like Mathis in are state..Curtis, its people like you who are the problem in this country and I’m sure the criminal element would thank you for trying to help disarm the law obeying citizens…

  6. “If HB 76 were to pass, Utah would be taking a step back to the Wild West where just about anyone could carry a hidden weapon.”

    With gangs like MS13 and the Mexican mafia just to name a couple of organized crime rings running around I have some news for ya , the Wild Wild West is more wild than ever before !

    And it’s getting to the point that law enforcement officers and even our own government are just as great a threat .

    Threats like the ones I mention is why the 2nd amendment exists , it’s really the only thing that stands between us and all out tyrrany .

    If you don’t like Utah or any other state where liberty is valued above all else you can pack up and move to the communist state of Kalifonia or Kolarado , or maybe you’d like Chigago or New York. , I here there a great place to get robbed or killed , if all else fails there’s several socialist dictatorships around the world that are bound to suit you .

    It’s high time to get back to our roots people , back to the country our founding fathers had envisioned , if it’s not a free country we might just as well change the name .

    Now that you’ve read this get out and vote conservative !

Leave a Reply to Wart hog Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.