2019 Bills

HB 94: Protecting the Right to Carry Firearms

This bill passed the House 54-14 and the Senate 20-6. 

Libertas Institute supports this bill

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

It is illegal in Utah for a person under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to carry a dangerous weapon. Unfortunately, this results criminalizes some legitimate situations in which a person should still retain the right to carry—and use—a firearm.

Representative Norm Thurston has sponsored House Bill 94 to address this. As initially drafted, the bill would make sure this criminal punishment does not apply to:

  • a person carrying a dangerous weapon that is securely encased or not readily accessible for immediate use;
  • a person who is defending themselves using the dangerous weapon; or
  • a person carrying the weapon inside their home, on their property, at a business they own, or the residence of another person with their consent.

This bill can be improved by ensuring that those using cannabis—a controlled substance—in compliance with the Utah Medical Cannabis Act are also exempt from this criminal punishment.

Intoxication should not prevent a person from being able to legally carry and use a firearm in self defense or on their own property. This bill helps restore some common sense to Utah law.