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SALT LAKE CITY — A Davis County lawmaker wants to lower the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit from 21 to 18.
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, the sponsor of HB198, said she wants younger college students to have the option to carry guns to protect themselves from sexual assaults on campus.
"This is the equalizer for those young women who may get attacked," she said. "They need to have that right."
Lisonbee also said that if 18-year-olds can serve in the military and potentially die for their country, they should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
Utah currently allows 18- to 20-years-olds to carry a weapon openly. At 21, a person can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Seven other states expressly allow those 18 and older to have concealed carry permits, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Lisonbee said 16 states allow 18-year-olds to carry concealed weapons because of their reciprocity agreements recognizing out-of-state permits.
HB198 would allow those ages 18 to 20 to get a provisional concealed weapons permit if they pass a background check and complete a firearms training course or prove other familiarity with firearms, such as having military experience. The permit would expire when they turn 21 and would not allow them to carry a gun in K-12 schools, something Utah allows for teachers and administrators with concealed permits.
Messages left with Utah Parents Against Gun Violence seeking comment on the legislation were not returned Thursday.
The move to grant a provisional concealed carry permit to those 18 to 20 comes as Utah lawmakers this year are once again considering scrapping the permit requirement for anyone 21 and over.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, vetoed a similar proposal in 2013, citing concerns from law enforcement about removing the permit rule. Herbert has threatened to veto the same measure again as lawmakers have reintroduced the legislation in the years since, but none of those additional attempts made it to his desk.
This year, the push is sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, who is also a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol. Perry's HB112 would repeal the permit requirement for those over 21 and add restrictions on perpetrators of domestic violence from obtaining or possessing guns if someone takes out a restraining order against them.
So far, the governor appears to have reservations about both proposals.
The governor wonders what problem we are trying to solve with this.
–Paul Edwards, Gov. Herbert spokesman
"The governor wonders what problem we are trying to solve with this," Paul Edwards, Herbert's spokesman, said of Lisonbee's bill.
Edwards said the governor is still reviewing the proposal to remove the permit requirement for those 21 and older.
"If the bill comes forward as substantially the same bill, he will veto it," the spokesman said.