Schools and churches should be able to keep guns out, says Utah's top law officer. But dozens of people holding concealed weapons permits disagree, saying their right to bear arms anywhere can't be infringed.
Public Safety Commissioner Doug Bodrero told a packed legislative study committee Wednesday afternoon that there appears to be a conflict in Utah law - the concealed weapons permit law says permitees can carry guns "without restriction" while another law says no guns on school property.A National Rifle Association official and the Utah Shooting Sports Council argued 2nd Amendment rights keep the state from telling law-abiding citizens where they can carry a weapon and urged legislators not to "tamper" with the two-year-old concealed weapons law. The 50 or so gun-rights enthusiasts cheered heartily when their advocates spoke.
But said Bodrero: "If the Legislature believes concealed weapons should be brought into schools and churches, stand up and say it. Don't let this (conflict in law) stand. Take us (law enforcement) off the hook."
He said some schools are posted with signs saying no weapons; a Blockbuster video store has banned all weapons; the University of Utah student manual bans weapons on campus and a large local hospital chain has told employees they can't bring concealed weapons into its buildings.
Bodrero said his personal opinion is that public education administrators and church leaders should be able to ban weapons from their property. He says business owners catering to the public have an argument when they say they want to ban all guns from their stores or offices.
"But I can see the other side of that argument (the right of a law-abiding citizen to carry a gun for protection) as well. But there is conflict in the law and I think you need to act" to resolve it, he told members of the Legislature's Transportation and Public Safety Interim Study Committee.