To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: Proposed "Disorderly Conduct" Amendment
I recently read that you are planning to reintroduce a "disorderly conduct" bill that would require anyone carrying a firearm openly to have it in a holster. When measured against a standard of "shall not be infringed" this is clearly left wanting. I recognize that it might concern some people if someone walks into a store with a rifle on their shoulder, but sometimes in the name of freedom it is important to allow a little concern, and maybe even a little more work for the police force. It is your duty to uphold the rights of the people - even when it is not convenient. Not to mention, what does carrying the gun in a holster really change anyway - except to be a pain in the neck for law abiding citizens?
Let me outline a few reasons why I hate this proposed bill:
1. It is really trying to solve issues caused by previous poor legislation, with even worse legislation.
2. It is unbelievably short sighted and in the end serves only to endanger and infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens.
3. It violates my right outlined in the constitution - to bear arms.
Let me discuss each of these in limited detail.
1. HB 76 was proposed in the 2013 session to allow anyone (who is not a restricted person, without a felony conviction, and who has not been deemed mentally ill, ...) to carry a firearm, concealed, without a permit. It passed house and senate with well over 2/3 vote, and was then vetoed by Governor Herbert. And then the 2/3 decided to lay down and not override the veto. If someone could explain to my why suddenly when the Governor vetoed that bill everyone changed their minds, it would be appreciated. I don't think it serves the people to fall in with political lines, particularly not at the peoples' expense. If it was a good idea before the veto, it was a good idea after it. Anyway, in short, almost no one wants to carry openly. It just puts a target on their back, opens them up to getting their gun stolen, and frankly makes them feel awkward. But, many don't want to take the time and pay the fees and be registered, just so that they can get a permit to exercise a right that is theirs without a permit. What I am really saying is, that, if such restrictions and infringements to carrying concealed were repealed, this issue of carrying openly would largely disappear. Bad legislation leads to more bad legislation, as it attempts to "fix" the problems created by the previous bad legislation. Why don't we just fix the initial bad legislation, and avoid all of the rest of the fallout, and the temptation to violate citizens' rights even more?
2. By putting a whole bunch of restrictions in place to being able to bear arms, you limit one's ability to do so, and thus break the overriding principal - "shall not be infringed". I shouldn't have to buy a holster, a hard case, or a whole host of other infringements to be able to bear arms. To require such is just another restriction - infringing on my rights. From a practical standpoint, let me illustrate. I almost never carry a weapon, but if I do, I have to carry it openly, because, I don't have a concealed carry permit, and on a moral level I refuse to get one. I would be more than happy to take recommended training, ... whatever, but I am not happy to have to pay a fee, be fingerprinted, and registered ect. (even though I have already been fingerprinted, passed background checks, ... for other reasons) to be able to carry a weapon to defend myself. And just for the record, I don't have so much as a traffic violation to my name, and never have, so you can be assured that my aversion to the concealed carry is strictly on a moral level, and not because any of the requirements would in any way inhibit me from obtaining one. That said, it is ridiculous to even think that way because if you can't pass the requirements to get a concealed carry permit, it is already illegal for you to own or carry a gun anyway, so the concealed carry permit is mute, and does pretty much nothing but infringe on the law abiding citizen. Anyway, this year we were going to visit some relatives out of town. When I travel long distances with my family I like to have some protection, so I often put my handgun in my vehicle. When we arrived at our destination, just as we were pulling in the driveway, the neighbor opened his garage door, and his pitbull came storming over and attacked, and I mean literally rammed and attacked the vehicle. I had forgotten, but something similar had happened on a previous visit, and I saw the dog coming and had to jump in the vehicle to get away from the thing. Anyway, my relative talked to the owner last time and asked them to keep the dog in. But, apparently it didn't stick between trips, ... Regardless, as you can imagine, with young kids, I am not really interested in risking having a pitbull come and kill or maim one of them, so during our stay, every time I went from the house to the vehicle, or vice versa, I put the handgun in my pocket - which fits perfectly for open carry - only the barrel goes down in my pocket and the rest sticks out, and it is below my coat - so that heaven forbid it doesn't accidentally become concealed. However, if there were a requirement that it be holstered, then if I don't have a holster, or happened to forget it, or really don't want it - because my pocket is my holster, then I can't defend myself. Then I get to choose between breaking the law, or risking a pitbull attacking me or my family. And, do I really want to take the time to put on a holster every time I go out? Let me answer for you - NO I DON'T. Should I have to put on a holster every time I go out? Again, NO I SHOULDN'T. Not to mention, just like the concealed carry, there is no clause specified that it only applies to city limits, ... so even in the mountains this suddenly applies? Which reminds me, why won't anyone address this? It is absolutely absurd that if I am in the back country I have to carry my weapon out in the open in the elements because I don't have a concealed carry permit. Infringement of my rights - absolutely. Ridiculous - for sure. But, I digress. Additionally, say I want to go to the shooting range, and I want to take a few rifles. Also, say I only have one hard cover case. Is this law saying that I have to buy a case for every rifle that I want to take out of my house at any given time? If so, that is totally unacceptable - and you know it - and if you don't, you should.
3. By putting restriction after restriction on being able to bear arms, you infringe, and in the end restrict the right. It is almost always poor legislation to try and put a law in place to catch someone for doing something they should be allowed to do, because you don't want to wait for them to violate a law that actually represents something they should not do. It may be easier for law enforcement. It may be convenient. But freedom is not about convenience. In my mind, such a law is tyranny at its worst.
You should withdraw this bill, and resurrect HB 76, to fix the real problem. The right to bear arms is fundamental to this country, and fundamental to me. You should consider very carefully anything that restricts or opposes it in any way. If you can't get HB76 passed, even though the majority of representatives and senators know it is right, but for some reason are laying down at the Governor's command, then, leave things as they are. The police can question anyone they want, but unless the person is doing something threatening, there should be no recourse. There is already an easy in for police officers - you are not allowed to carry openly with a bullet in the chamber - so any officer can ask to see if there is a bullet in the chamber. If not, and the person is not threatening anyone, then leave them alone. That said, very few people actually want to carry around a gun openly in the city - except in protest to tyrannical laws like you are proposing. Representative Ray, as an American citizen, with the God given right to bear arms, and protect my freedom, I implore you to withdraw your bill and change your infringing ways.