There is a bill in the Utah House of Representatives, HB 276, which seeks to protect individuals carrying firearms from getting hit with a disorderly conduct charge. The current law is located in Utah Code 76-9-102. Representative Paul Ray is the chief sponsor of the bill and he proposes to alter the language of 76-9-102 to include the following language:
The mere carrying or possession of a holstered or encased firearm, whether visible
or concealed, without additional behavior or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe the holstered or encased firearm was carried or possessed unlawfully or with criminal intent, does not constitute a violation of this section. For purposes of this section, the belief of a reasonable person may not be based on a mistake of law. Nothing in this Subsection (3) may limit or prohibit a law enforcement officer from approaching or engaging any person in a voluntary conversation.
One wonders why this language need be proposed at all. Nothing in the current statute gives law enforcement the authority to charge someone for disorderly conduct simply for having a gun. At our firm, we have actually never been involved with a disorderly conduct case where the charges have been brought solely on the grounds of possession of a firearm. In fact, we have not heard of any case like that, but it must be a problem in some jurisdictions or at least in Representative Ray’s district. There must have been some kind of citizen uprising over this issue to cause Representative Ray to propose this law.
The legal carrying of a firearm is an important right that should be protected and Salcido Law Firm commends Representative Ray for proposing this law to limit the power or perceived power of law enforcement officers to make arrests because they don’t like the fact that the person is carrying a firearm.
This is only one of the many laws being proposed this legislative session. Check back often to find out more about other proposed laws.