Our View: Resolve open-carry gun problem

Monday , January 13, 2014 - 11:27 AM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

It’s quite embarrassing that the pols in the Utah Legislature can’t agree on a law that would protect residents from having persons stroll through public places carrying weapons.

This is an issue that needs to be hashed out and compromised. Law enforcement needs to have the right to charge — if so determined by the peace officer — an individual who carries a weapon in a store, or park, or other location with many people with disorderly conduct.

This is not an issue connected to concealed-carry laws. We respect the rights of law-abiding Utahns to carry concealed weapons. But to tote around an AR-15 while shopping, as a man did in Riverdale a year ago, can reasonably be construed as crossing the line. It creates discomfort and fear to others.

While incidents such as the recent school shootings, as well as a massacre in a movie theater in Colorado, are very rare, they garner intense media coverage. Seeing an individual carry a weapon openly in public can create panic. There needs to be a law to stop individuals from hoisting their weapons in public, and intimidating others.

So let’s get to it, legislators. There are two bills in this year’s legislative session. One is from Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, the other from Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo. There are various concerns with both bills. Some from police chiefs, some from gun rights advocates. These squabbles have prevented legislators from passing a disorderly conduct statute for openly toting weapons in public.

Iron out the difference, pols, pass a compromise bill. That’s what we pay you people to do. Utah residents who only want to go to a store to shop shouldn’t have to witness someone with a weapon strolling around.

If legislators can’t pass a common-sense bill to stop this silly exhibition of weapons by attention-seekers, then it’s another example of dysfunction on our state’s Capitol Hill.

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