Senate passes conceal carry bill lowering permit age to 18

Image a derivative work of an original photo by Jupiterimages/Getty Images; St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Utah Senate passed a bill Thursday that will give 18- to 20-year-old young adults the ability to conceal carry firearms through a provisional permit.

The primary argument in favor of the bill is that it will give young adults a much better chance of defending against sexual violence, particularly on college and university campuses where openly carrying a gun is not permitted.

2017’s House Bill 198, Concealed Carry Amendments, is sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, and was co-sponsored on the Senate floor Thursday by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.

The bill passed the Senate with a 23-6 vote. HB 198 passed the Utah House Feb. 21 with a 63-12 vote. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk to be signed into law.

“A group of 18- to 20-year old women brought this bill idea to Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (and) they wanted to be able to defend themselves,” Weiler said on the Senate floor, “because most colleges don’t allow open carry, any women 18- to 20-years-old in Utah cannot carry a weapon on most Utah college campuses.”

Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, was not in favor of the bill. She said her primary concern was related to the age of those to whom the bill would be giving conceal carry permits.

While not recited much on the Senate floor, prior arguments made against the bill as it has progressed through the Legislature have questioned the mental maturity of 18- to 20-year-old individuals.

Escamilla also said rapes tend to be carried out by people who already have some acquaintance with the victim, so having access to a gun, concealed or otherwise, may not make much of a difference. She also noted the state’s high suicide rate, particularly among teens, and how often guns are used in those deaths.

Utah law already allows 18- to-20-year-olds to open carry, Weiler said.

These kids are already allowed to carry, just not conceal carry,” he said.

The bill would create a provisional conceal carry permit for those between 18 and 20 years old that would become void when the permit holder turns 21. As some 18-year-olds may still be in high school as well, the permit is not considered valid on high school grounds.

Southern Utah Sens. Ralph Okerlund, Don Ipson, Evan Vickers and David Hinkins each voted in favor of House Bill 198.

Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Stanard also voted in favor of the bill.


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • comments March 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Well, I don’t know why they didn’t just lower it to age 4. Every 4 yr old should be packing a glock everywhere they go. It’s a dangerous world!

    • mesaman March 10, 2017 at 10:18 am

      But it really becomes dangerous when you think like a pansy.

      • Chris March 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        You mean a pansy like you, Nolan, who never had the guts to get employment outside the safe confines of government?

    • .... March 10, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Hey Bob why don’t you write a letter to your reelected Republican Governor I’m sure he cares what you think

  • Proud Rebel March 9, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I sure can see the Democrats point of view on this! Absolutely! 18-20 year olds, are mature enough to join the military, go to war, kill and be killed for our country, but they aren’t mature enough to carry a weapon concealed, to protect themselves. Oh yeah, from what Escamilla is saying then it would appear that all these college age young ladies, need to stay away from anyone that they know, “because rapes are usually carried out by people who already have some acquaintance with the victim, so having access to a gun, concealed or otherwise, may not make much of a difference.” Hey BIMBO WAKE UP! So the victim and suspect may be acquainted, SO WHAT? You think that gives a green light to rape a victim, and that the victim should not protect herself, because it is an acquaintance rather than a stranger that is trying to rape her?
    She also noted the state’s high suicide rate, particularly among teens, and how often guns are used in those deaths. Right on, and of course there is no way anyone is going to have access to a gun, unless they are carrying it concealed.
    You are almost as intelligent, (but now quite,) as old Dorothy whats her name that gets her panties in a wad any time a gun is even mentioned.

  • comments March 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

    In an intense threatening situation I can picture an 18 year old woman trying to fire a gun at someone. She pulls it out of her purse, fumbles around with it, forgets how to turn the safety off, and when she finally does she shoots herself in the foot. Of course we don’t need hands-on courses on how to actually fire a weapon, right? This is why I support glock 9mm standard issue for every 4 yr old. I partial to beretta but u need something light for a 4yrs old.

  • ladybugavenger March 10, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    An 18 yr old can go to war for our country, can carry a concealed weapon (for protection), can get an abortion, and can get a minor in possession of tobacco ticket, if caught with a cigarette. ? Welcome to America!

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