2018 Bills

HB 328: Firearms and Intoxication

This bill was not considered in a committee, and did not receive a vote in the House or Senate.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

There are many preposterous ways an individual can get in trouble for gun possession, even if they legally possess their guns. Consider the following for an example of how this could happen in Utah.

Imagine a person with a concealed carry permit drinks too much at the bar and has their sober friend drive them home. On the way home, the friend is pulled over for speeding and the officer would like to search the car. In the trunk, the officer finds a locked up gun. Even though he was not using the gun or acting recklessly, because the owner is under the influence of alcohol, they can be charged with a class B misdemeanor for having the gun while drunk.

House Bill 328 aims to protect the rights of gun owners by allowing for legal exceptions for situations where one may safely possess a gun. Sponsored by Representative Norman Thurston, HB 328 would allow individuals to keep a legal weapon that is securely encased or not readily accessible for immediate use, while under the influence. Individuals may also carry a legal weapon while under the influence if they are within the confines of their own property. If they are on a friend’s property, they must obtain permission to carry.

Intoxication is not a reasonable justification for charging someone with a crime while near a legally obtained weapon.  If they are acting responsibly, on their own property, or with the gun encased or away from immediate use, there should be no punishments in place for the mere possession of a weapon.