SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House approved a bill Monday allowing victims of domestic and sexual violence who have an approved protective order to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Price, the sponsor for HB243, said the bill doesn't change when or where a victim can carry a gun, but just that it can be concealed.
“This bill is a pro-choice bill, every woman should be able to choose whether or not she needs, or wants, to provide a means of self-protection and, if so, she should be free to choose the means that suits her particular circumstances,” Watkins said.
Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, presented a substitute bill that would have given victims a "fast track" to a concealed carry permit after the initial ex-parte protective order is given. He said this would likely be quicker than the process in the original bill, which allows concealed carry after the protective order hearing.
"Once a firearm is introduced into a domestic violence situation, the victim is 500 percent more likely to die. That’s why I feel it’s important to follow the process we have set up through law," Stoddard said.
He said after people have gone through the trauma of domestic violence, it is important for them to have the proper training. He said the concealed carry permit process we have is respected and works well.
Watkins disagreed saying the substitute would require more money and the original bill only makes a change to how a victim can carry.1 comment on this story
"If you see a person drowning, you don’t say to them, ‘You should go take swimming lessons,’ you throw them a lifesaver. Such is the case here, if someone has been threatened and they feel unsafe, they should be able to … cover (a weapon) up so that it’s safer for them while they work on getting a permit," Watkins said.
Stoddard's proposed substitute failed.
Watkins' bill — which passed in a 58-16 vote — allows a victim 120 days after the protective order is issued to conceal carry before they receive a permit.
HB243 will now go to the Senate for consideration.