Utah residents recently received the exciting news that HB 60 was signed by Governor Cox. HB 60 is a Constitutional Carry bill that aims to expand concealed carry rights throughout the state. Constitutional Carry may be a new concept for Uthans who already carry and for those who are interesting in starting to carry. How will Constitutional Carry change concealed carry for Utah residents?
What is Constitutional Carry?
Constitutional Carry eliminates the requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit. This will allow adults ages 21 and over to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, as long as they are legally allowed to possess a firearm. This also eliminates the need for concealed carriers to take the class, pay the fees, and undergo the additional background check that all go along with applying for a permit. Permit-less carry speeds up the process for individuals wanting to carry concealed firearms. The existing permit program will continue and you can still obtain or renew your Utah concealed carry permit if you choose. The only thing changing about the existing permit process is a reduction in application and renewal fees. Constitutional Carry will go into effect in May of 2021.
Why is Permit-less Carry Beneficial?
Because Constitutional Carry makes it easier for Utahns to carry concealed firearms, it gives more people the opportunity to defend themselves against danger. It was found that the top 3 safest states, which are Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, are also Constitutional Carry states. There is a common misbelief that expanding the ability for individuals to carry will increase crime rates. In an evaluation of multiple studies conducted across the United States, it was found that in certain states, the expansion of carry rights was associated with a decrease in homicide and assault rates.
Permit-less carry has the potential to be especially beneficial for individuals who have more time-sensitive personal safety concerns. For example, somebody struggling with incidents of stalking or relationship violence will not have to wait (typically 6 weeks) for their carry permit to be approved before they start taking the steps to defend themselves.
Should You Still Get a Permit?
There are still advantages to obtaining a concealed carry permit in Utah. One major advantage of having a Utah concealed carry permit is that it is recognized by 36 additional states. If you are ever traveling in another state that recognizes your Utah permit, you will be able to carry there as well. This gives you more flexibility on where you can carry, and gives you the opportunity to defend yourself even when you are out of state.
Utah's carry permit is also unique because it offers a provisional version for individuals who are 18 and over, but not yet 21. The provisional permit has played a major role in the popularity of campus carry. Because permit-less carry only applies to individuals who are 21 and older, anyone under 21 who wants to carry would still need to obtain their permit to do so. We have heard the heartbreaking stories of young women and men who have lost their lives on college campuses in this state. The provisional permit has great potential to help young people become self-reliant with their safety.
Additionally, if you plan to carry on the campus of a K-12 school, or on the campus of a public university, you must have your Utah concealed carry permit. It is important for teachers, parents, and college students who carry or are interested in carrying to understand and follow this law.
Training is Crucial
If you prefer to take advantage of Constitutional Carry rather than getting a permit, it is absolutely essential that you still seek out some type of training. Carrying a gun is a large responsibility that requires you to be proficient in your shooting and decision-making abilities. Taking training classes is a great way to prepare yourself for carrying. Allowing yourself to be in uncomfortable situations and pushing yourself in potential self-defense scenarios can be extremely helpful for developing your skills even further. Right now we are still experiencing an ammo shortage, meaning range time might be less frequent for some. Fortunately, doing dry fire drills is something that can be easily done at home without the need for ammo. You can (and should) practice things like drawing from concealment and safely re-holstering with an inside the waistband holster.
Becoming comfortable with your carry gun and holster is a key part of preparing to carry. When shopping for your first holster, be sure to look for one that is made out of Kydex which has the ability to protect the trigger and ensure consistent draws. Our most popular holster for concealed carry is the Valknut IWB Holster.
For more information on getting started with concealed carry, check out this article.