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Government Specialist Richard Piatt reportingA bill to clarify the rights of gun owners who carry a permit sparked a familiar debate today on Capitol Hill.
That debate centered on guns in schools and whether those with a permit should be allowed access to schools without questions.
This bill is one of six gun-related bills pending in the Legislature. None of them call for dramatic changes to state law, but all are invitations for the two sides of the issue to speak out at the Capitol.
This measure would clearly allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns into a school.
Concealed gun carriers turned out in force at the Legislature. They insist that they must be allowed to carry their weapons into public schools for the safety of students and others.
Along the way however, gun control forces fired familiar themes at the committee.
"There is not a problem, there never has been a problem with concealed carry firearm holders carrying firearms in schools," one resident protests.
"I'm just astounded that a few so consistently want to take away my God-given right," says Donna Dahl.
"The rights for people to carry guns do not give them rights to trample on other rights that people have. In this case, carrying a gun into a school carries some risk," says Lorna Brown.
"The truth is, we already restrict where people can take their guns, and I don't know why airports or other secure facilities deserve more protection than our children's schools," says Marla Kennedy with the Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center.
This bill came about after Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said some schools claimed they could ban guns, relying on a law that had been replaced by the 1995 measure.
The bill now goes on to the full Senate.
Other gun measures calling for controls or safety measures are currently in House and Senate rules committees.