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Utah Legislature: Bill encourages business to allow guns on their premises

Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake has signs saying guns aren't allowed on its premises.
Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake has signs saying guns aren't allowed on its premises.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers are seeking to encourage businesses to allow concealed weapons on their property.

Passed by a House committee Thursday, HB380, which may be read online at le.utah.gov/~2010/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0380.htm, would grant businesses immunity from civil and criminal charges if a gun is fired on their property by a concealed-firearm permit holder.

Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, said many businesses post "no guns" signs for fear of being sued.

"Many business owners say that if they knew they would not be held civilly responsible, they would take the signs down," he said. "This bill puts responsibility on the gun owner, where it should be."

If a business continues to prohibit guns, it could still be held responsible for an incident involving a firearm, while businesses that allow concealed-weapon permit holders would be immune, Sandstrom said.

Allowing concealed weapons may help reduce mass shootings, such as those at Trolley Square or Virginia Tech, Sandstrom argued, saying signs only stop legal gun owners.

"The bad guys are going to use a gun whether there's a sign or not," Sandstrom said. "This allows law-abiding gun owners to help."

As currently written, the bill only covers actions by concealed-firearm permit holders.

— Josh Smith