This year has, if nothing else, been effective in demonstrating the necessity of being able to provide for one’s own defense. As local and state governments wield heavy-handed tactics in an effort to save both political face and blunt the furor of the ongoing protests, the citizenry is grappling with increased lawlessness in their communities; mob violence, destruction of businesses and livelihoods, ideologically-targeted harassment, and even murders are becoming increasingly common in places where they rarely happened before—prior to 2020 places like Provo, Kenosha, Salt Lake City, and Denver were not hotbeds of violence or civil unrest. Combined with police forces spread thin and many departments facing deep budget cuts or even being told to stand down, the potential for dialing 9-1-1 and having no officers respond is becoming a stark reality for many Americans. The message being sent is clear: when there are legitimate threats to your life, liberty or property, you’re probably on your own.
That might serve as vindication for the many millions of gun owners in the United States prior to this year, but it’s a shocking revelation for the millions of new first-time gun buyers in America. What’s even more confusing is how difficult it is to actually bring that gun with you in public for the purpose of defense, especially given the current climate.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in one of the nearly 20 states that recognizes that the individual right to self-defense extends outside the home, you would simply holster your pistol and walk out the door. However in states like ours, you must first apply and receive permission to lawfully carry a concealed or loaded firearm on your person outside your home or car. Our BCI can take up to 60 days per state law before issuing a permit, and there are few circumstances where it can be expedited. Some legislators might say the two-month wait time is trivial, suggesting that the risk of allowing anyone to carry a pistol in public is of greater risk than not. However, in 2019 the same legislative body believed that it was necessary for some to have the immediate capacity to defend themselves with a concealed and loaded handgun by example of HB243; this bill allowed victims of domestic violence to carry a handgun concealed without a permit—if they had an active protective order against their abusers. While that was a fantastic incremental adjustment to existing law, violence can happen fast and with little to no warning; waiting until after you’ve been a victim oftentimes isn’t an option. Today, the risk of becoming a victim when you’re living your day-to-day life is heightened. It’s more urgent than ever to enable lawful adults to defend themselves; being in the wrong time in the wrong place shouldn’t leave you defenseless and at the mercy of a mob.
Our legislature is no stranger to permitless concealed carry measures; in 2013, a watered-down bill even passed through the legislature, only to be vetoed by Governor Herbert. Several efforts have been attempted since then, but with no appetite for veto override, the issue has remained unaddressed and dies before seeing a committee.
However, Governor Herbert is leaving office, and since 2013 over a dozen states have taken the plunge. In doing so, they are living examples of how enacting such a measure doesn’t result in lawlessness or wanton bloodshed. Lt. Gov. Cox, who is likely to be the next Governor, is on record supporting the 2013 permitless CCW bill when he was a House Representative, and we have some reason to believe that he would sign it if elected and presented a permitless CCW measure. Should this transpire, we fully expect to see Rep. Walt Brooks run his permitless CCW bill again for 2021; when he does, Utahns have stronger justification than ever to hammer home to the legislature and Governor just how important this is.
Image used with permission from freedom.concealed, https://instagram.com/freedom.concealed