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Home > Alerts & Updates > 2013 Bill Tracking Page: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Dedicated to those few who refuse to submit to tyranny and oppression.

2013 Bill Tracking Page:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Last updated: April 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM

"REFRESH" this page ("F-5" on most browsers) to see latest version.

See the 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report.

See UT Gun Rights' current legislative priorities.

 

Good Bills  Disclaimer: Can be demoted to a "Bad Bill" or "Ugly Bill" at any time.

Bill Description Status Assessment
Last
Updated
HB 76 S1 Remove concealed carry license requirement for "unloaded" firearms in some public environments Passed house and senate; vetoed by governor; failed legislature's veto override vote 4/22 at
10:45am
HB 313 Provide jury trials prior to terminating parental rights Died in house rules committee 3/15 at
12:30am

Bad Bills

Bill Description Status Assessment
Last
Updated
HB 27 Labelling gun owners terrorists for refusing to comply with illegitimate orders Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 28 S1 Creates public campus victim disarmament zones Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 50 Gun owner victimization act Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 121 Legalizing theft of firearms Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 211 S2 Treating concealed carry permit holders unequally Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 256  Gun control by bureaucrats  Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 268 S1 Attack on open carry; makes an even bigger mess of disorderly conduct statute Passed house; died without final senate floor vote 3/15 at
12:30am
HB 287 S1 Leaving gun confiscation to prosecutors and police Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
HB 321 Reaffirming federal gun controls Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
SB 80 Kangaroo courts for gun owners Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm
SB 120 State Forester gun control empowerment Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm

Ugly Bills  Description: Bills so poorly written, we can't think of a better category.

Bill Description Status Assessment
Last
Updated
HB 114 S2 Diversion to keep people occupied Passed house; died in senate rules committee 3/15 at
12:30am
HB 296 Imposes toothless 30-day requirement for police to return some weapons Died in house rules committee 3/15 at
12:30am
HB 317 Phony protection of your concealed carry private information Passed house and senate; signed by governor 4/5 at
1:30pm

Under Review  Disclaimer: May be a "Bad Bill" or "Ugly Bill", but we need more time to review it.

Bill Description Status Assessment
Last
Updated
       

 

Tracking Instructions: Each summary below includes a hyperlinked bill number.  Click on the bill number to go to the bill documents page for each bill.  From there you can click on the latest bill version to view the actual language, or see other crucial information on the bill. The "Bill Status/Votes" feature, for instance, tells you where the bill is in the legislative process and gives you actual floor vote details.

Under "Web Watch" you can actually sign up to receive e-notification of any changes made to the bill or bill status.  This is a nice feature, though not always as timely or reliable as it ought to be.  Make sure to also be cognizant of new amended versions of the bill.  Keep in mind that bills can be substituted.  Substituted bills replace the previous bill entirely.

For an overall bill list and tracking page, see http://le.utah.gov/~2013/2013.HTM

Disclaimer: "Good bills" can be amended to bad bills at any time, and we might not catch the change on this page until it is too late.  If you are interested in a "good bill", keep that in mind.

Abbreviations: HB= House Bill, HCR= House Concurrent Resolution, HJR= House Joint Resolution, rep= representative, S= Substitute [followed by the number of the substitute], SB= Senate Bill, sen= senator, SCR= Senate Concurrent Resolution, SJR= Senate Joint Resolution.

Contact your legislative servants: Find and contact your house statuators, senate statuators, and executive branch officials.

Contact us: If you have any corrections or additions, please notify us at info@utgunrights.com.

       

Good Bills

Disclaimer: "Good Bills" can be demoted to "Bad Bills" or "Ugly Bills" at any time, and we might not catch the change on this page until it is too late.  If you are interested in a "Good Bill", keep that in mind.

   


House sponsor,
John Mathis

Senate sponsor,
Allen Christensen
House Bill 76 S1:

Carry "Unloaded" Firearms Concealed  [aka "Concealed Weapons Amendments"] by rep. John Mathis, district 55, "Republican".

WEAKENED BILL PASSES HOUSE

The original HB 76 allowed adults (21 or older) without concealed carry government "permits" to carry "loaded" firearms in public, to include vehicles, and on, or near, school and university grounds.  HB 76 Substitute 1 passed the house and senate and appears to do the following:

1) "Allows" adults (21 or older) without concealed carry government "permits" to carry concealed firearms in an "unloaded" condition, which theoretically means no bullet is in the chamber or, in the case of revolvers, in a firing position (where one action of the hammer or pull of the trigger could fire the weapon — which would theoretically mean the bullet lined up with the barrel and the bullet following it).

2) Adults (21 or older) could conceal firearms in this "unloaded" condition in any area currently authorized to concealed carry government "permit" holders — with the exclusion of any school or university grounds.
Note: Current federal gun control statute 18 USC 922(q)(1) does prohibit carrying a firearm — openly or concealed in school zones without a state-issued "license" to include some type of "[qualification]... under the law".  Also notice that paragraph (3) does not exempt permit holders from prosecution if they discharge a firearm on a school ground in lawful self defense of defense of another.

3) Opens the door of confusion and potential harassment of innocent gun owners through use of the term "unloaded".  Will police be checking to see if anyone is carrying concealed under the auspices of ensuring that weapons are in an "unloaded" condition?

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Why was HB 76 weakened? Because gun owners sit at the back of the political bus.
LOADED TERMS IN STATUTE

State statute 76-10-502 contains a definition of the term "loaded":

76-10-502. When weapon deemed loaded.
(1) For the purpose of this chapter, any pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, or other weapon described in this part shall be deemed to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.
(2) Pistols and revolvers shall also be deemed to be loaded when an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile to be fired.
(3) A muzzle loading firearm shall be deemed to be loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinders.

And state statute 76-10-501 defines "concealed dangerous weapon":

(3) (a) "Concealed dangerous weapon" means a dangerous weapon that is:
(i) covered, hidden, or secreted in a manner that the public would not be aware of its presence; and
(ii) readily accessible for immediate use.
(b) A dangerous weapon is not a concealed dangerous weapon if it is a firearm which is unloaded and is securely encased.

An "unloaded" condition is assumed to be anything other than a "loaded" condition, though we are unaware of any definition of "unloaded" in statute or administrative rules (the fourth branch of Utah government see our threat assessment of HB 256 for more information). 

As implied above, we are unsure if there is a disclosure requirement applicable to this mode of carry if one encounters a government agent, as would be the case in other statutory sections dealing with government "permit" carry.  Absent credible information against it, however, UT Gun Rights still supports this weakened substitute bill.

SUBSTITUTE STILL APPEARS POSITIVE

The original HB 76 appeared to go a long way in advancing one of UT Gun Rights' legislative priorities, by essentially eliminating the requirement to obtain a government "license" in order to carry a concealed weapon.  Several states (Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming) have done this and others are attempting it.  Carrying your firearm — concealed or openly — is your right, NOT a bureaucrat-sanctioned privilege.

This substitute still appears to move in a positive direction, but not as much as should be demanded of a legislature claiming to be "pro-gun".

Reader Note: To see a comparison between HB 76 and HB 76 S1, click here. The bill also makes a key reference to state statute 76-10-504(1) and (2).

WHAT OPPONENTS ARGUE

Opponents of HB 76 S1 argue that allowance for carry of unloaded, concealed firearms is already addressed for those who subject themselves to the Utah "permit" system and the invasion of privacy that it entails.  In theory it is impossible for the permit information that the state holds to escape to unauthorized persons.

However, recent events demonstrate a shocking failure of the state in protecting private information held by the state as indicated by the theft of records involving nearly a million people in 2012.  As well, the state may change the statutes and subject permit holders to public scrutiny as happened in New York state.  Finally, it was brought to the attention of gun owners last month in consideration of HB 317 that state government bureaucrats have many escapes from prosecution should they fail to protect private records.

Therefore, you may choose to carry concealed by subjecting yourself to a shameful and degrading invasion of personal privacy by the state and potential public disclosure of your information.  Or you may carry concealed without a permit and face arrest, prosecution, and jail time.  Meanwhile, violent criminals, against whom you are entitled to viably defend yourself, carry knives and loaded firearms concealed ANY TIME THEY CHOOSE with repercussions irrelevant to the crimes that they commit. 

BILL STATUS

The original bill passed the house judiciary committee (6 yeas, 2 nays, 0 absent/not voting), and this weakened substitute bill passed the house final vote (51 yeas, 18 nays, 6 absent/not voting), passed the senate final vote (22 yeas, 7 nays, 0 absent/not voting), was vetoed by the governor, and failed the legislature's poll whether to hold an override session for the bill (16 yeas, 13 nays in the senate and 41 yeas, 34 nays in the house).  For our latest alert on HB 76 S1, click here.

OBSERVATIONS

Why do legislators only seem to have time and energy to rush horrible bills through, but have all sorts of time to hem and haw and water down bills like HB 76?


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, in this case Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, they alone appoint EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Bills live or die almost entirely upon their whims and wishes, and your "representative" and "senator" merely serve their will and agenda.

As a recent Deseret News article reveals, house majority leader and sub-monarch of sorts, Brad Dee, actually led the charge to delay HB 76 on the house floor, whereupon it was weakened to the current substitute bill.

Senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser has already publicly indicated his displeasure with HB 76 S1:

"Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Senate Republicans have not yet talked about how they'll handle HB76.  'I think now that we know it's coming, we'll discuss the bill,' he said. Niederhauser, however, expressed his own concerns about the bill.  'The  concealed carry law has functioned well,' the Senate leader said. 'I hate to see that diminished in any way.'"
Source: "'Constitutional carry' gun bill passes House after change," Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, March 1 2013.

Isn't it fascinating that Niederhauser is so sensitive to HB 76 S1, but appears to feel no such anxiety with regard to multiple gun control bills flying through his senate?

Meanwhile, governor Gary Herbert had this to share:

"Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday he's not happy with the so-called 'constitutional carry' bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit and repeated his belief that new gun laws aren't needed this session.

'I think the laws we have on the books right now protect our Second Amendment rights,' the governor told reporters. He said met with the sponsor of HB76, Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, and expressed his displeasure."
Source: "Gov. Gary Herbert says he doesn't like 'constitutional carry' bill," by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, Feb. 28 2013.


Governor Gary Herbert is employing "The Winder Defense".  To learn more, click here.
After the Utah Sheriffs Association wrote a letter in opposition to the Obama regime's gun control agenda, Herbert expressed the following:

"The governor also said he believes a letter from the Utah Sheriffs Association to the president, stating that its 28 sheriff members — all but Salt Lake County would not enforce gun laws they believed violate the constitutional right to bear arms, was also an overreaction.

"'I think it was probably an emotional, knee-jerk reaction to the idea that Washington is somehow going to tell us what we're going to do,' Herbert said. 'If we don't like the laws that are passed, if we don't like the executive orders, we have a process in place. Go to court. We don't have to have confrontations at the border. Go to court and we'll find out whether it's the law of the land or not, but Utah will adhere to the law of the land.'" [bold added]
Source: "Herbert says Utah will follow federal gun laws," by Robert Gehrke, Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 24, 2013.

For more background on this story, including our response to both governor Herbert and his comrade in disarmament, Salt Lake County sheriff Jim Winder, click here.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Alliance for a Better Utah; Deseret News; GoUtah!; Libertas Institute; Salt Lake Tribune; St George News; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Gun Owners video; Utah Shooting Sports Council.

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House sponsor,
LaVar Christensen
House Bill 313 (amended):

Reducing the Power of Court Dictators [aka "Rights of Parents and Children Amendments"] by representative LaVar Christensen, district 32, "Republican".

This bill would allow parents, including gun owners, to request and receive a trial by a jury of their peers PRIOR to having their parental rights terminated. UT Gun Rights strongly supports HB 313 as a first step in restoring justice to Utah courtrooms, and in providing substantive due process for innocent gun owners.


How could we possibly go wrong giving one person such awesome power?
ONE COURT DICTATOR CAN RUIN YOUR LIFE

Did you know that, in Utah, your children can be seized from you, placed in a foster home, and your rights as a parent could be forever terminated without ever being convicted of a crime?  And were you aware that this could all be done by the decision of one judge (sometimes with help from that judge's bureaucratic "court commissioner")?

One unaccountable* court dictator holds the awesome power to destroy your life, and the lives of your children.  And there is no jury of your peers to intervene.

*Note: The governor, without any substantive review or confirmation process, hand-picks all voting members of "judicial nominating commissions." These commissions select judicial candidates, the governor selects his favorite, and his favorite is confirmed by the state senate.  The "judicial council" selects court commissioners, who are deemed "quasi-judicial officers of courts of record".  Sources: Utah Constitution, Art. VIII, Sec. 8, and state statutes 20A-12-201, 78A-5-107, 78A-10-103, 78A-10-105, 78A-10-202, and 78A-10-204.  In order for voters to remove a judge, over 50 percent of them must be sufficiently angry at him/her to vote "no" on his/her judicial retention election.  Imagine how many lives a judge could destroy before half the voters voted "no"?

Tragically, such abuse happens regularly in Utah, and all too often one or both parents is unjustly targeted because he/she is a gun owner.  Many Utah judges and court commissioners harbor extreme statist views — to include an anti-gun agenda and some seem to enjoy harassing and terrorizing gun owners.

VAGUE TERMINATION CRITERIA

The statutory criteria these court dictators utilize to tear parents from their children includes vaguely defined words like "abuse," "neglect," and "educational neglect," which can be twisted to mean nearly anything.  Critically examine state statute 78A-6-105 as an example.


"But the most grievous innovation of all, is the alarming extension of the power of courts of admiralty. In these courts, one judge presides alone! No juries have any concern there! The law and the fact are both to be decided by the same single judge." — John Adams
And according to state statute 78A-6-507, all the court dictator has to decide is that the parents have violated any one of these vague definitions.  No actual crime need be proven.  So guess whose "interests" will be reflected in that decision?

LOW BURDENS OF PROOF

In this nightmarish, but real, scenario, accused parents not only face a court dictator, but according to state statute 78A-6-314(2)(b), their petition to have their children returned to them can be denied by the lowest threshold of legal protection: "preponderance of the evidence."  In other words, the court dictator gets to decide if you are an unfit parent by the lowest standard of evidence.

Prima facie "evidence" of your parental unfitness includes failing to "comply with a court approved child and family plan in whole or in part" (78A-6-314(2)(c)(ii)).  And what is the "court plan"?  Whatever the court dictator wanted it to be, because he/she is often part of the "treatment plan team."
Source: "Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Embracing a Tainted Ideal," by former Utah juvenile court judge, Arthur G. Christean, Jan. 2002.

These "court plans" can include unreasonable restrictions on firearms (see next topic on the statutory environment that helps to encourage such restrictions).

If the state files a petition to permanently terminate your parental rights, the court dictator can approve it based upon "clear and convincing evidence" (see bill lines 62-63), which again means whatever the dictator thinks it is; including your failure to abide by his/her "court plan".

Keep in mind that native Americans on reservations at least enjoy the higher protection of "beyond a reasonable doubt" before their parental rights can be terminated.  (Source: Federal Indian Child Welfare Act)

Note: State proponents of this sham termination process sometimes point to state statute 78A-6-503.  Unfortunately, while this statute contains lofty, flowery language, it offers no substantive safeguards for accused parents, and no substantive restriction upon the power of the court dictator.


Forget all this talk about proofs and juries, comrade!  The state is never wrong!
OPENLY-HOSTILE STATE SYSTEM

As we outlined in our threat assessment of HB 256, the "child welfare system" is designed to be hostile toward gun owners.  If, for example, your minor child ever has access to a loaded weapon, a state caseworker could use that to build the case that you are guilty of "child endangerment," an abuser, and therefore subject to state intervention; potentially by having your child seized from you and your rights terminated.

And if your children are sent to foster care homes, those adults who do not have a concealed carry "permit," and who do not have their weapon on their person, are required to essentially live in a disarmed, or unprepared, home environment.

The underlying philosophy of the state is clear: foster parents must be unarmed, and if they are unarmed, natural parents should likewise be unarmed.

If a court dictator terminates your parental rights, such decisions can be utilized by other bureaucratic processes to further destroy your right to keep and bear arms.  For example, as we pointed out with our threat assessment of SB 80, any jury-less court decision can be sufficient grounds for the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification to revoke that person's concealed carry permit.

CONCLUSION


Time to reign in the court dictator.
Again, this bill would allow parents, including gun owners, to request and receive a trial by a jury of their peers PRIOR to having their parental rights terminated. UT Gun Rights strongly supports HB 313 as a first step in restoring justice to Utah courtrooms, and in providing substantive due process for innocent gun owners.

Judges are supposed to be courtroom referees, ensuring that the jury receives as much pertinent information as possible, and that the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to present such information.  A judge is not supposed to be a member of the "treatment plan," the jury, and also the executioner for the state agenda.

HOW THIS BILL COULD BE IMPROVED

This bill could be substantively improved by the following:

1) Require that parents be proven guilty, by a jury of their peers, of actual, serious, and purposeful criminal behavior or unfitness that renders them permanently unable to serve as parents, before their children can be permanently removed.  Before any accused loses a fundamental right, he/she must be found guilty (not innocent) through substantive due process, which includes the bedrock assurance of a TRIAL BY A JURY OF ONE'S PEERS.  See "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" by Accountability Utah.

2) Require that the state's burden of proof be raised to the highest standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" in permanent termination cases, as is the case with native American families living on Indian nation reservations.  Accused Utahans should enjoy the same protections as native Americans.

3) Require the court to instruct jury members as to their power to override state statute and the judge in their determinations if they deem it appropriate.

4) Remove the filing fee in lines 57-58 for parents who request a jury trial in civil cases.  Innocent parents, including indigent ones, should not have to pay to receive substantive due process.

5) Require the unanimous opinion of 12 jurors to convict a parent of a crime and to terminate his/her parental rights.  Article 1, section 10 of the Utah state constitution foolishly empowers the state legislature to limit the number of jurors in non-capital cases.  Forever losing one's children is a fate worse than death.


She who must be obeyed: house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Bill Status: This bill was sent to Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house judiciary committee, which committee ultimately sent it back to her hand-picked house rules committee (8 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting).  The house judiciary committee's last public meeting has now been held.  Barring any further action from the house floor, this bill will never be debated or voted on by the Utah "house of representatives".

Click here for status details.

Observations: As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart, is a veritable monarch.  Among other inordinate powers, she alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Whatever Lockhart wants, Lockhart gets, and, in this case, her minions have sent HB 313 back to the rules committee to die an ignominious death.

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Bad Bills

Observations: In their rush to force gun control legislation through the legislature, house monarch Rebecca Lockhart, senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser, and their loyal legislative subjects, frequently substitute and amend horrible bills in an effort to keep citizens spinning in circles.  It is nearly impossible to stay up-to-date, figure out what is going on, and attempt to get the word out to the people as fast as Bad Bills change. 

Because of their games, as a rule UT Gun Rights believes that Bad Bills should be killed; not amended.  Bill sponsors should be forced to go back to the drawing board, obtain more input from gun owners, and complete the due diligence they failed to complete before filing the bill.


House sponsor,
Eric Hutchings

Senate sponsor,
Stephen Urquhart
House Bill 27:

Labelling Gun Owners Terrorists for Refusing to Comply with Illegitimate Orders [aka "Threat of Terrorism Penalty Amendment"] by representative Eric Hutchings, district 38, "Republican".

According to current statute,

"A person commits a threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and... acts with intent to... cause action of any nature by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies... A threat under this section may be express or implied." (see lines 30-31, 36, and 42-43).

HB 27 adds a punishment, making this particular "offense" a class B misdemeanor.

On Feb. 4, this paragraph was amended unanimously by Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house judiciary committee, as follows:

"A person commits a threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and... acts with intent to... cause [action of any nature by] an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person's conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public. A threat under this section may be express or implied." (see lines 30-31, 36, and 42-43).

The same concerns apply with these amendments.  Rather than slow down the wheels of bureaucracy, they are busily amending and re-amending a statute that remains vague, nebulous, and overboard.

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Government agents always respect natural rights – especially in emergencies, right?  Just ask the gun owners of New Orleans.

New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, and his police superintendent, Warren Riley, demonstrating the double-standard of gun control statutes.
For example, assume that there is a disaster, and in response, federal and/or state officials declare a "state of emergency," and one or more government agents attempt to force gun owners to comply with unreasonable, unconstitutional, and illegitimate demands — as they have done in recent past.

If a gun owner simply implies that he/she will refuse to comply, or even resist, such an illegitimate order, he/she could be considered to be "posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public," by undermining their supposed authority and course of action, and is now guilty of a class B misdemeanor.  Under the vagaries of HB 27, even in its amended form, continued possession of a firearm could be cause enough to activate this new punishment.

UT Gun Rights is opposed to HB 27.  In this government's salivating and eager haste to wage war on nearly everything, it is destroying and undermining the only prize worth safeguarding: our natural rights.

It is time to "just say no" to the paranoid and power-hungry who imagine suicide bombers under every rock and tree.  We collectively need to chill out, take a step back, and stop childishly associating every response with an "act of terror."  If we are serious about reducing violence and terror, we should start by reigning in the illegitimate actions of abusive government agencies and agents.

HB 27 does the opposite, unfortunately.  The proposed language, along with the new penalty, will simply become another tool for overzealous government prosecutors to beat down innocent defendants with numerous, overblown charges for the same accusation.  They know that defendants will be so terrified of the possibility of an astronomically-long prison sentence, they will more readily accept a plea bargain.  Enough of this nonsense.

Finally, notice the conspicuous absence of any penalty for government agents who abuse citizens in times of emergency, or who give orders that are unjustifiable.  Once again, citizens and gun owners are treated as second-class citizens.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Bill Status: This bill was amended (see amendment), unanimously passed by Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house judiciary committee (9 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the house final vote (71 yeas, 0 nays, 4 absent/not voting), passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee (4 yeas, 0 nays, 3 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the senate final vote (27 yeas, 0 nays, 2 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Observations: As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, in this case Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, they alone appoint EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Bills live or die almost entirely upon their whims and wishes, and your "representative" and "senator" merely serve their will and agenda.

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House sponsor,
Don Ipson.

Senate sponsor,
John Valentine.
House Bill 28 Substitute 1 (amended):

Public Campus Victim Disarmament Zones [aka "Campus Safety Amendments"] by representative Don Ipson, district 75, "Majority Assistant Whip" and "Republican".

CURRENT ALERT FOR 2/15/2013 AT 12:55PM: Trespassing Loophole Exposed

University President To Assume the Powers of a Monarch

Much diversionary discussion has occurred regarding the allowance for carrying a firearm in 76-8-703(1) to avoid criminal trespass.  While possibly well-intentioned, the gaping loophole for arbitrary abuse of gun owners and others on taxpayer-funded campuses has largely been ignored.

A second path for a person to be guilty of criminal trespass is found in 76-8-703(2).  In this subsection any person is guilty of criminal trespass merely upon notification from the university president or anyone else with "apparent authority" or upon issue of an undefined "order of suspension or expulsion" (see lines 108-109 and 112).

With the dictatorial power granted to him by HB 28 S1, the university president may remove on an entirely arbitrary, discriminatory, and unjust basis anyone he chooses.  Given the zealotry and near-fanatical anti-gun owner bigotry displayed by university officials in the past, one may be confident in how this extreme power will be abused.

It is disappointing to see how the house monarchess, Rebecca Lockhart, and senate monarch, Wayne Niederhauser, have so capably manipulated and deceived other gun organizations into supporting, or failing to oppose, this bill.  A tiny and apparent protection for firearms carry is in the bill while the power that will allow firearms owners to be arrested and prosecuted without any reference to their guns has been entirely ignored.

UT Gun Rights requests that you will make your voice heard nonetheless (see "Appropriate Actions" at the end of the additional alert information below).  No university president or any other person should ever be empowered to arbitrarily have peaceable and law-abiding citizens arrested for trespassing on taxpayer-funded property.

PREVIOUS ALERT FOR 2/15/13 AT 9:30 AM:

HB 28 S1: Campus Gun Control Bill Heads for Final Senate Vote


He who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser.
Gun control fast-tracking continues.  We told you a lot about the house monarchess, Rebecca Lockhart.  Now you're seeing the senate monarch, Wayne Niederhauser, demonstrate his equal commitment to gun control through the brutal authority he exercises.

Niederhauser is rapidly attacking your most fundamental rights; sadly and apparently bolstered with a cheerleading squad consisting of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC), and GoUtah! among others.

Only one day after receiving HB 28 S1 (amended) from the house, Niederhauser rammed it through the senate education committee. The bill is now heading for a final vote on the senate floor.

We received the following assessment of HB 28 S1 (amended) from a member of our legislative analysis team:

1. Concealed carry will probably continue to be tolerated on campus as long as no one does anything stupid.

2. Open carry will be eliminated the moment someone declares that s/he "can't concentrate" (most likely, ironically, during the mandatory "diversity studies" class) because someone sitting near them has an openly carried gun.  That will constitute a "disruption" and upon the carrier being told it is a disruption it automatically becomes a willful one, and thus a misdemeanor.

3. Any last shred of freedom speech and freedom of assembly will be eliminated by this bill.  Merely handing out a flyer or asking someone to sign a petition is "impeding" a student or faculty member, never mind more heinous activities such as carrying a sign, or, heaven forbid, holding a rally.

Thus to call oneself a supporter of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and to support this bill (just because there's a dubious chance it may protect a minuscule bit of gun rights) is the very worst form of sophistry and hypocrisy.

The PURPOSE of the 2nd Amendment is to protect and defend the others, not to sell out to fascism in return for a moldy crumb. We will endeavor to provide further analysis, but given the almost-maniacal pace of this bill, there may be little time to fully respond.

PREVIOUS ALERT INFORMATION FOR HB 28 S1

Note: Though private universities are included in this bill, a truly private university does not operate on public property, and can employ private property protections unavailable to government universities.  If they want to ban gun owners, they have other alternatives.

THE "ORDER TO LEAVE"

HB 28 S1 provides the university president or his "designee" the power to issue an "order to leave":

"(1)(a) A chief administrative officer may order a person to leave property that is owned, operated, or controlled by an institution of higher education if the person…" (lines 84-85)

It then lists several criteria regarding that "order to leave," and whether that order is "lawful."  It includes vague, nebulous nonsense such as:

"...[to] interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the university... [or] disrupt the institution... is reckless..." (lines 91-96)


The "reasonable" candidate to regulate guns on campus?
Because gun owners initially threw a fit, an attempt was made to pacify them with the following stipulation:

"(c) The mere carrying or possession of a firearm, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe the firearm was carried or possessed unlawfully or with criminal intent, does not warrant an order leave under Subsection (1)(a)." (lines 100-103)

In a previous threat assessment of this bill, UT Gun Rights asked what this "additional behavior" verbiage would mean in reality?  Is there a reasonable person in the UofU or Salt Lake City police administrations?  Do we want to rely upon THEM? Maybe they will designate some UofU alumni to make the determination, including past president, Chase Peterson, who signed on to "The Case for Domestic Disarmament"?

What if a person has a Greenpeace, NRA, or other political sticker on his backpack, is wearing a "Death Metal" or "Che Guevara" T-shirt?  Are these signs of potential criminal intent?

What if a female student perceives a male ex-boyfriend as a "threat"?  Or some student sees an openly carried gun, gets hysterical, hyperventilates, and misses class?  Is that a disruption?

At the very least, HB 28 S1 has the potential to create enough fear and uncertainty that no one would feel safe carrying firearms on government university campuses.

HOUSE AMENDMENTS IGNORE MAIN PROBLEMS

In their rush to ram this gun control bill down your throat, house monarchess Becky Lockhart and her minions pushed through the following amendment affecting the "order to leave" problem we previously addressed above:

"(c) The mere carrying or possession of a firearm [ , whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe the firearm was carried or possessed unlawfully or with criminal intent, ] on the campus of a state institution of higher education, as defined in Section 53B-3-102, does not warrant an order to leave under Subsection (1)(a) H. if the person carrying or possessing the firearm is otherwise complying with all state laws regulating the possession and use of a firearm."

This amendment only affects the "order to leave" verbiage and does NOTHING to address the greater problems outlined below, including "criminal tresspass" against gun owners who violate unjust "notices against entry," "notices against remaining," as well as the lack of criminal penalties for school officials and other government agents who violate your natural rights.  Keep reading...

THE "CRIMINAL TRESPASS" ENTRAPMENT

Remember, trespassing and firearms possession are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. In our review of the dominant 2006 Utah supreme court decision affecting this issue, and state statute "53-5a-102. Uniform firearm laws", they do not override the ability of an individual or institution to have someone removed based upon allegation of trespassing.

The paragraph immediately following parapraph (c) stands independent of the firearms-related paragraph and the "order to leave", states:

"(c) A person is guilty of criminal trespass upon an institution of higher education if the person enters or remains without authorization upon property that is owned, operated, or controlled by an institution of higher education if notice against entry or remaining has been given..." (lines 104-107)

It then lists (lines 107-112) various ways in which notices can be given, including signs" (line 110), and "personal communication to the person... by a person with apparent authority to act for the institution" (lines 108-109).  [So, does this include parking attendants and janitors?  How about a sign notifying you that all faculty, school employees, and students are authorized to give you a "notice against remaining"?]

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Like sitting at the back of the political bus?
In other words, regardless of the "order to leave" question or the rest of the bill language, all one has to do to be guilty of criminal trespass is to refuse a "notice against entry or remaining" on public property occupied by a government university.  This despite whether that notice was fair, legitimate, or respectful of one's natural rights.

And what about people who are NOT specifically invited to go on campus, or whose invitation to be on campus has been rescinded in some fashion?

As you attempt to answer this question, pay particular attention to the verbiage, "notice against entry."  Does "notice against entry," or perhaps even "notice against remaining," mean the same thing as an "order to leave"?

If the public university president posts notice that guns are not allowed on campus, he is not technically ordering someone to leave.  Rather, he's giving notice that they are not allowed TO BE THERE AT ALL, and could be subject to HB 28 S1's new definition of "criminal trespass" if they enter.

And, in actuality, the bill goes on to differentiate between "ordered to leave" and "notice against entry or remaining":

"(3) If an employee or student of an institution of higher education is ordered to leave under Subsection (1) or receives a notice against entry or remaining under Subsection (2), the institution of higher education shall afford the employee or student the process required by the institution of higher education's rules and regulations." (lines 113-116)


University of Utah president, David Pershing, and his merry band of gun control zealots must be having a good chuckle at gullible gun owners. In 2007, government university bureaucrats and certain legislators formed a "work group" to attempt to find a more clever, palatable way to enact gun control on public university property.
Source: "U. seeks support for gun control," by Sheena McFarland and Glen Warchol, Salt Lake Tribune, 1/3/2007.
And what are the "rules and regulations" by which gun owners may be prohibited from this public property?  How about whatever the university president/board want them to be?

An example of how this will be used is the case of William Silver, who was perpetually banned from Weber State University.  Silver, a student and employee of the university, allegedly had a verbal altercation with a fellow employee.  Police then issued him a "withdrawal of consent," resulting in Silver losing his job and the ability to continue his schooling there.  Silver received no due process and was found guilty of no crime.
Source: "Student files lawsuit against WSU for campus ban," Tim Gurrister, Ogden Standard Examiner, March 10, 2013.

ILLUSION OF PENALTIES FOR RIGHTS ABUSERS

Some bill proponents now believe this substitute (amended) bill offers substantive penalties for university "authorities" and police who ignore the firearms-related paragraph cited above.  They point to the section of the bill starting on line 120, "76-8-705. Willful interference with lawful activities of students or faculty," that goes on to make it a class C misdemeanor for "a person" to "willfully" deny,

"…Lawful: …freedom of movement; use of the property or facilities; or… ingress or egress to the institution's physical facilities." (lines 126-129)

However, if you look closely, these "protections" only covers,

"A student, school official, employee, or invitee…" (lines 125-126)

There's another interesting word: "invitee".  Are you starting to see a pattern here?  What if you're not on the "invitee" list?  And even if you are a student or school employee, are you being denied "freedom of movement" or "use of the property or facilities" if a verbal "notice" or sign somehow restricts your firearm from entering or remaining?

And what of police?  Well, police and "persons" are two entirely different entities in statute, so this supposed protection doesn't really apply to them. To imagine that this paragraph was written to protect gun owners is naive.  It is far more likely to be used against gun owners.

Thanks to the legislature, police have been given special immunity and limited liability under Utah statute anyway, so none of this really applies to them.  They are free to stretch this new statute as they see fit, and who do you think they'll most likely stretch it for?  Will the Salt Lake City police favor your rights over the whims of the University of Utah's president's appointed designee?
Note: Police immunity from abuse and neglect is another discussion for another time.  But you can learn more about it by reading up on Senate Bill 55 Substitute 1 in Accountability Utah's 2004 Annual Performance Report and by reading up on Senate Bill 225 Substitute 1 in Accountability Utah's 2003 Annual Performance Report.

"BUT ISN'T EXISTING STATUTE WORSE"?

Some have argued that HB 21 S1 (amended) should be passed because it repeals poorly-worded existing statute (see lines 156-171).  Yes, existing statute is poorly-worded, but gun owners have already gone through the courts to attempt to defend their rights according to those poorly-worded statutes.  Any new statute should provide a clear and substantive improvement to the old statute.  HB 21 S1 does no such thing.

In addition, those repealed statutes only apply to "orders to leave".  Here are the statutes to be repealed: 76-8-704 affects people given an "order to leave"; 76-8-708 does not address an "order to leave" or directly impact the status quo; 76-8-710 affects people given an "order to leave"; 76-8-711 only affects students after the "order to leave" is given; 76-8-712 affects students and school employees after an "order to leave" is given; 76-8-713 affects others who are given an "order to leave"; and 76-8-718 only relates to police.

None of these existing statutes address the new "notices to enter" and "notices to remain" created by HB 28 S1 (amended).  If HB 28 S1 (amended) were an improvement, it would not create entirely new means by which gun owners could be discriminated against.

At least, under current statute, a school official has to go through the effort to identify the fact that you had a firearm in your possession and verbally "order" you to leave in person.  Under HB 28 S1, all they may require is a verbal warning or posted signs to bar your entry for some nebulous reason.  No "order to leave" would be required, as they might just arrest you.

If you're not on the "invitee" list, there is no statutory penalty for them to harass you.  And, again, if you are a student or school employee, would they, or the police, be guillty of restricting your "freedom of movement" or "use of the property or facilities" by telling you that your firearms or fliers or peaceful rally represent a disruption of some kind?  After all, you could still "move freely" and "have access" so long as you comply with their unjust notice.

Would you be comfortable testing these theories out after HB 21 S1 (amended) is enacted?  Neither would we.  And keep in mind that there is no limit on the time that these "expulsion orders" can remain in place (line 112).  You could be forever prohibited from entering that public property.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Observations:
HB 28 S1 (amended) is another ugly deception, and provides an example of how your rights are being whittled away – one piece at a time.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  In Lockhart's case, this includes the infamous "Rules Committee" which kicked the original HB 28 out to the house floor.

Bills live or die almost entirely upon their whims and wishes, and your "representative" and "senator" merely serves their will and agenda.  If they want to fast-track a bill, the bill is fast-tracked. Rather than slow down to responsibly examine what they do, Lockhart, Neiderhauser, and their court of eunichs, could care less.

Bill status: HB 28 S1 (amended) was fast-tracked by Lockhart's hand-picked house rules committee for final vote in the house, passed the house final vote (66 yeas, 6 nays, 3 absent/not voting), passed Niederhauser's hand-picked senate education committee (6 yeas, 0 nays, 2 absent/not voting) one day after being received by the house, unanimously Niederhauser's hand-picked senate education committee (6 yeas, 0 nays, 2 asent/not voting), unanimously passed the senate final vote (28 yeas, 0 nays, 2 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: GoUtah!; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Shooting Sports Council.

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House sponsor,
Jennifer Seelig

Senate sponsor,
Curtis Bramble
House Bill 50:

Gun Owner Victimization Act [aka "Dating Violence Protection Act"] by representative Jennifer Seelig, district 23, "Democrat".

This bill empowers a court judge or commissioner without the check-and-balance of a jury of the accused's peers to issue a "dating violence protection order" (lines 80-86) that,

"...prohibit[s] the respondent [i.e. accused] from purchasing, using, or possessing a firearm or other weapon specified by the court." (lines 144-147).

The restriction on the judge is that he decide that there is,

"...clear and convincing evidence that the respondent [ie. accused] has committed abuse or dating violence against the petitioner." (lines 157-158)

If there exists "clear and convincing evidence" that someone has perpetrated violence against an innocent person, why wouldn't the judge issue an arrest order for the accused so he/she can be speedily tried by a jury of his/her peers?  Jury trials by our peers represent the essence of substantive due process (see "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" by Accountability Utah).

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Enjoy gun control, comrades!
The "dating violence protective orders" created in HB 50 would primarily be issued in lieu of a jury determination, and by individuals judges who are largely unaccountable for their actions.  If restricting contact between individuals is necessary precedent to jury trial, that is one matter up for public debate and discussion.

However, these orders should NOT include the power to restrict every detail of how those individuals should live their lives; at least until such time as substantive due process including a jury trial by one's peers has run its course.  Before we deprive a person of his/her firearms, substantive due process must occur, and the determinations/whims of one judge is insufficient toward that process.

The portions of this bill related to firearms ownership and possession represent a skewed view of what happens in the real world.  If someone intends to do another person physical harm in the future, and is willing to defy a court order to do so, it doesn't matter what the order says about weapons.  He/she will be able to access them very easily.

UT Gun Rights opposes HB 50, and is giving it a more appropriate name: "The Gun Owner Victimization Act".

Bill Status: This bill flew through Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house judiciary committee (9 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), passed the house final vote (61 yeas, 13 nays, 3 absent/not voting), passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee (6 yeas, 1 nay, 0 absent/not voting), passed the senate final vote (24 yeas, 4 nays, 1 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why does a gun control bill like this fly through committee so early in the session?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.

This includes every member of the house judiciary committee.  Is it any wonder that they passed HB 50 unanimously?  Bills live or die almost entirely upon their whims and wishes, and your "representative" and "senator" merely serve their will and agenda.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: GoUtah!; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Shooting Sports Council.

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House sponsor,
Dixon Pitcher

Senate sponsor,
Curtis Bramble
House Bill 121 (Amended):

Legalizing Theft of Firearms [aka "Firearms Safe Harbor"] by representative Dixon Pitcher, district 10, "Republican".

 This bill legalizes theft by creating a not-so-voluntary program that empowers cohabitants to whimsically turn in other cohabitants' firearms to policefor an unlimited period of time.

Other cohabitants may never find out that their firearms were turned in to the police.  And anyone accused of having an "ownership interest" in an "illegal" firearm may essentially become an unwilling witness against himself in subsequent criminal prosecutions.

THE "OWNER COHABITANT" MESS

HB 121 creates the definition of an "owner cohabitant":

"'Owner cohabitant' means a cohabitant who owns, in whole or in part, a firearm." (line 52)

This "owner cohabitant" would be empowered to turn firearms in to police if he/she,

"…believes that another cohabitant is an immediate threat to… any... person."  (lines 61-66)

Though there is no penalty if they fail to do so, the police are to,

"…Require the owner cohabitant to sign a document attesting that the owner cohabitant has an ownership interest in the firearm…" (lines 73-74)

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Wonder where these notions of communal ownership came from?
The phrases "owns in part" and "ownership interest" are vague and nebulous.  What about a household where two or more people share incomes and expenses?  Will the cohabitant turning in the firearms claim, "Well, he went to the store and bought it, but we share the bills and therefore the purchase was partly with MY money, so I'm part owner."

How might this apply to roommates in a dormitory or housing complex? What's to keep one roommate from taking the other roommate's guns and turning them into police for whatever reason he/she might conjure up? Could this be another part of the University of Utah's anti-gun agenda (see our threat assessment of HB 28 S1)?

UNACCOUNTABLE POLICE SUPPORTING THEFT

HB 121 empowers police to hold the firearms for 60 days (though, again, there is no penalty if they refuse to return them at all), whereupon the "owner cohabitant" can repeatedly and indefinitely request that they hold them for another 60 days (lines 75-85).

And what if the other cohabitant wants to know where his/her guns went, so that he can reclaim them?  Good luck!  According to lines 86-88:

"A law enforcement agency may not request or require that the owner cohabitant provide the name or other information of the cohabitant who poses an immediate threat or any other cohabitant."

What this means is that no one but the cohabitant who turned in the guns will know about the person he/she took them from.  If the other cohabitant somehow learns about what happened, he/she cannot reclaim those firearms until the 60-day period expires.

FORCING PEOPLE TO INCRIMINATE THEMSELVES

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Once programs like HB 121 are in place, there is no limit on how they can be expanded to destroy your rights.
Another insidious part of this bill regards "illegal" firearms.  There is no provision to grant immunity for people who might turn in firearms that are "illegal" according to unchallenged and oppressive federal or state statutes, rulings, and presidential executive orders.

Under HB 121, "illegal" firearms will not be returned and those with an "ownership interest" may then face criminal charges.  Worse, by turning them in "voluntarily," and by admitting to have an "ownership interest," he/she would, in essence, be forced into being a witness against himself/herself in court.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We are unaware of any such concept as "joint ownership" or "part ownership" of a firearm in Utah.  As this is not a community property state (at least officially), the whole concept of "owner/cohabitant" is legally questionable.

If an owner and/or cohabitant wants to turn in his/her OWN gun, while it is stupid and potentially self-incriminating, that is one matter.  If a person is not a rightful owner, takes a gun that does not really belong to him/her, and turns it in to the police, that should be considered theft.  Theft should not be encouraged or rewarded by the police.

UT Gun Rights opposes HB 121, and the audacity of its supporters in the legislature for managing to defy so many traditional benchmarks of American jurisprudence in just a few short pages.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why are a gun control bills like these so common?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Because of the enormous power they wield, bills live or die based upon their whims and wishes.

Bill Status: This bill has passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house law enforcement and criminal justice committee (10 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting), passed the final house vote (44 yeas, 28 nays, 3 absent/not voting), passed the senate final floor vote (21 yeas, 4 nays, 4 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah.

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House sponsor,
Val Peterson

Senate sponsor,
Peter Knudson
House Bill 211 S2:

Divide Citizens Against Each Other [aka "Concealed Weapon Permit for Service Members"] by representative Val Peterson, district 59, "Republican".

This bill would waive concealed carry permit fees for active duty military members and their spouses:

"Concealed firearm permit renewal fees for active duty service members and spouses of an active duty service member shall be waived." (lines 231-232)

If this bill proposes this special exemption as compensation for services rendered, then what about past veterans no longer in "active duty" status, or the father, mother, and widow of people who have died attempting to provide service to others?  And what about the countless people who serve the interests of mankind in so many other ways and capacities, from the community volunteer and activist to the small businessman to the constant labors of each taxpayer?

HB 211 S2 opens a Pandora's Box of inequity, imposing an artificial hierarchy of worth and value upon the services individuals render to our society.  The last thing our society needs is to further divide different groups of people against each other.

UT Gun Rights opposes HB 211 S2.  We should all possess equal footing under statute.  Frankly, concealed carry "permits" should cease to exist entirely.  Carrying your firearm concealed or openly is your right, NOT a bureaucrat-sanctioned privilege.  A meaningful step in this direction is offered by the current version of HB 76 in our "Good Bills" section.

As a pragmatic note, "permits" should really only be viable as a form of recognition for Utahans who travel to less-free states that require some form of license.  In these cases, the State of Utah should provide concealed carry "permits" free-of-charge and upon request.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why are a gun control bills like these so common?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Because of the enormous power they wield, bills live or die based upon their whims and wishes.

Bill Status: This bill passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house law enforcement and criminal justice committee (11 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the final house vote (72 yeas, 0 nays, 3 absent/not voting), passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee (6 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting), unaimously passed the final senate vote (25 yeas, 0 nays, 4 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah.

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House sponsor,
Curtis Oda

Senate sponsor,
Howard Stephenson
House Bill 256:

Gun Control by Bureaucrats [aka "Reauthorization of Administrative Rules"] by representative Curtis Oda, district 14, "Republican".

HB 256 reauthorizes numerous "administrative rules" created by unelected bureaucrats that have the same effect as state statute.  These include gun controls and many other affronts to your natural rights.

GUN CONTROL BY BUREAUCRATS

Did the Obama regime's recent executive orders targeting your gun rights get you a little upset?  Imagine how upset you would be if congress happily approved Obama's executive orders?

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
"Hey, I could learn a thing or two from you guys!"
Perhaps it would surprise you to learn that Obama isn't the only one passing orders and rules.  On the state level, unelected bureaucrats have been very busy:

"Approximately one half of Utah's codified law is written by state agencies."
(Source:  "Administrative Rules Affect You!" at http://www.rules.utah.gov/abtrules.htm)

Did you get the significance of that?  HALF OF UTAH'S CODIFIED STATUTES WERE WRITTEN BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN YOUR ELECTED STATE LEGISLATORS!

HB 256 reauthorizes state agencies to enforce gun control in the form of bureaucratically-generated "administrative rules."  These crafty concoctions circumvent the checks and balances that differentiate a republican form of government from a monarchy or oligarchy.

Did you ever learn much in school about this fourth branch of Utah state government?  Here's how it works in a nutshell: When the state legislature enacts a statute, bureaucrats get together and "interpret" how government agencies will apply those statutes in the real world.  Once approved, these "administrative rules" have the effect of state statute:

"A properly enacted administrative rule has the binding effect of law. Therefore, a rule affects our lives as much as a statute passed by the legislature, restricting individuals AND the agency that issues it."
(Source:  "Administrative Rules Affect You!" at http://www.rules.utah.gov/abtrules.htm)

The only effective check on these "administrative rules" is that the state legislature must annually approve or reject them, or a court must strike them down.  HB 256 would give blanket approval to ALL of these "administrative rules".

While we don't have a team of lawyers to spend thousands of hours sifting through these voluminous "administrative rules," here is a sampling to give you an idea of how they may subvert your natural rights.


...can prevent "spotlighting"
"SPOTLIGHTING" GUN OWNER ENTRAPMENT

According to state statute 23-13-2(41):

"'Spotlighting' means throwing or casting the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light on any highway or in any field, woodland, or forest while having in possession a weapon by which protected wildlife may be killed."

This language is a vague and nebulous.  Theoretically, an open-carry camper with a flashlight, attempting to find his way to the outhouse, could be "spotlighting".

According to state statute 23-20-3(p) and 23-20-3(3), it is a Class B Misdemeanor to "use spotlighting to take protected wildlife".

Under "administrative rules," however, it expands beyond just "taking" protected wildlife.  According to "R657-11-14. Spotlighting":

"(1) Except as provided in Subsection (3):
(a) a person may not use or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light to locate protected wildlife while having in possession a firearm or other weapon or device that could be used to take or injure protected wildlife; and
(b) the use of a spotlight or other artificial light in a field, woodland, or forest where protected wildlife are generally found is prima facie evidence of attempting to locate protected wildlife. [bold added]
(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(a) the use of the headlights of a motor vehicle or other artificial light in a usual manner where there is no attempt or intent to locate protected wildlife; or
(b) a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon in accordance with Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code, provided the person is not utilizing the concealed weapon to hunt or take wildlife.
(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to the use of an artificial light when used by a trapper to…"

Wikiedia explains that "prima facie",

"…is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts. In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence that – unless rebutted – would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact."

In other words, an open carry camper on his way to the outhouse is not only "spotlighting," but now must rebut the "evidence" that he is "spotlighting" — even if he did not kill, or attempt to kill, any animal.  This "administrative rule" makes that camper increasingly vulnerable to being detained, arrested, charged and convicted of "spotlighting," and having his/her firearms confiscated.


"The bureaucrats have spoken! Let there be gun control!"
DISARMING FOSTER PARENTS

According to "administrative rule," R501-12, adults must jump through intrusive hoops in order to qualify as a "foster parent":

"(5) Foster and Proctor parents who have firearms, ammunition, or other weapons shall assure that they are inaccessible to children at all times. Firearms and ammunition that are stored together shall be kept securely locked in security vaults or locked cases, not in glass fronted display cases. Firearms that are stored in display cases shall be rendered inoperable with trigger locks, bolts removed or other disabling methods. Ammunition for those firearms shall be kept securely locked in a separate location. This does not restrict constitutional or statutory rights regarding concealed weapons permits, pursuant to UCA 53-5-701 et seq."

In other words, adults who do not have a concealed carry "permit," and who do not have their weapon on their person, must essentially live in a disarmed, or unprepared, home environment.

CREATING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST GUN-OWNING PARENTS

And what about gun owners with children who have been seized by the state and put into those disarmed foster care homes?  Well, there's an administrative rule, R512-202-2, targeting them as well:

"(1) Qualification for Services.
(a) The Child and Family Services worker receiving or investigating a report of child abuse, neglect, or dependency shall categorize the information into an allegation category. Severe and chronic categories of abuse and neglect are found in Sections 62A-4a-101 and 62A-4a-1002. This rule contains the allegation categories that are not severe or chronic.
(2) Referral and Investigation Allegation Categories for Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency.
(a) Abuse:
(i) Child endangerment:
(A) Driving under the influence with children in the vehicle;
(B) Homes where there are lab paraphernalia, chemicals for manufacturing illegal drugs, access to illegal drugs, distribution of illegal drugs in the presence of a child, loaded weapons within the reach of the child, or exposure to pornography…" [bold added]

In other words, if your 17-year old minor child ever has access to a loaded weapon, a state caseworker could use that to build the case that you are guilty of "child endangerment," an abuser, and therefore subject to state intervention, potentially by having your child seized from you.

UT Gun Rights opposes HB 256, both for its gun control reauthorizations and on the general principle that bureaucratically-generated "rules" should never be given equal status to statute enacted through the full legislative process.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Bill Status: This bill flew through Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house government operations committee (8 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting), passed the final house floor vote (63 yeas, 8 nays, 4 absent/not voting), unanimously passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate government operations and political subdivisions committee (4 yeas, 0 nays, 3 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the senate final floor vote with an insignificant amendment (26 yeas, 0 nays, 3 absent/not voting), passed the house concurrence vote (61 yeas, 9 nays, 5 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why do gun control bills like this fly through, while good bills languish and die?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Because of the enormous power they wield, bills live or die based upon their whims and wishes.

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House sponsor,
Paul Ray

Senate sponsor,
Curtis Bramble
House Bill 268 S1:

Disorderly Bill Mess [aka "Disorderly Conduct Amendments] by representative Paul Ray, district 13, "Republican".

Did you strap on an AR-15 for a recent rally or hearing?  If HB 268 S1 passes today, you may be harassed and arrested if you attempt to do so again.

Currently, police have broad statutory latitude to harass gun owners in public situations.  HB 268 S1 is an attack on open carry, and makes things worse with regard to disorderly conduct statutes.  Lines 28-38 outline current statute:

"(1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
(a) [he] the person refuses to comply with the lawful order of [the police] a law enforcement officer to move from a public place, or knowingly creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition, by any act which serves no legitimate purpose; or
(b) intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, [he] the person:
(i) engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
(ii) makes unreasonable noises in a public place;
(iii) makes unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place; or
(iv) obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic." (lines 28-38)


"Have we got a deal for you gun owners!"
HB 268 S1 then adds the following "exclusion":

"(3) The mere carrying or possession of a holstered or encased firearm, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe the holstered or encased firearm was carried or possessed unlawfully or with criminal intent, does not constitute a violation of this section. For purposes of this subsection, a reasonable belief may not be based on a mistake of law." (lines 43-47)

This new language offers a phony protection that appears to actually increase the likelihood that gun owners will be abused.  Keep in mind that house monarchess Rebecca Lockhart, and senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser, control all of the legislative employees/attorneys who draft these bills (see house rule 1-3-102(1)(k) and senate rule 1-3-102(1)(a).

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, Lockhart and Niederhauser also exercise great power over "representatives" like HB 268 S1 sponsor, Paul Ray.  If they were motivated to protect gun owners, their attorneys would insert clear, concise language like the following:

"Carrying a firearm, in and of itself, does not constitute a hazardous or physically offensive condition."

In addition to clear language, there would be a clear penalty for police who blatantly harass such people.

Instead, they introduce nebulous phrases like "reasonable person" with belief in potential "criminal intent" — phrases that are historically abused by police agencies and prosecutors.  Gun owners always lose when statute is unclear.  What they really mean is that if you're carrying a gun around, you will be more vulnerable to harassment and prosecution under HB 268 S1.

HB 268 S1 proponents ignore the fact that this supposed "exclusion" does not exist if someone believes that carrying a firearm poses a "hazardous or physically offensive condition," or that "criminal intent" is not specified to only apply to this section of statute.


Paul "Benedict Arnold" Ray shows his true allegiance.
Whenever someone has a feeling of a "hazardous or physically offensive condition," and believes that gun owners are creating, or contributing to, that situation, HB 268 S1 will make it easier to harass and prosecute them.

Bill supporters also ignore the fact that the bill sponsor, "representative" Paul Ray, recently and candidly shared his gun control wishes with the Salt Lake Tribune:

"'If you decide to make a political statement and strap an AR-15 [rifle] on your back and go shopping, there is a very good likelihood you'll be cited for disorderly conduct,' Ray said. He said recent images of people at committee hearings on Utah's Capitol Hill with gun rights advocates propping rifles against chairs near children angered him and said his bill wouldn't protect people acting that way from facing disorderly conduct charges.  'I saw the picture he had it sitting next to a child which just irritates me,'" Ray said. [bold added]
Source: "House passes bill on openly carrying firearms," David Montero, Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 28 2013.

You've probably noticed by now that the "exclusion" Ray created above only applies to "holstered" or "encased" firearms.  What if you possess a firearm in any other condition in public?

Let's say you, like thousands of other Utahans, strapped on an AR-15 to peacefully attend a pro-gun rally or hearing at the state capitol?  Because the "exclusion" specifically excludes YOU, you are now singled out for extra police scrutiny and harassment.


Ready to live in a state where people like him are specifically targeted by legislators like Paul Ray for "disorderly conduct"?
Ray publicly admitted such again:

"Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, sponsor of HB268, said if the bill had been law during last week's so-called 'Gun Day' at the Legislature, a man who brandished an assault rifle next to a child at a committee hearing could have been cited.

 "'This is a disorderly conduct bill. This bill is not about allowing people to open carry,'" Ray said." [bold added]
Source: "Gov. Gary Herbert says he doesn't like 'constitutional carry' bill," Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, Feb. 28 2013.

Ray's allegiance is not to innocent gun owners.  He is in favor of seeing them harassed and arrested for "disorderly conduct."

UT Gun Rights opposes HB 268 S1.

Observations: Ray's real motivations provide insight into the machinations of the house and senate monarchies we've been exposing.  While gun control bills like HB 268 S1 pass easily out of both houses, the only "Good Bill" on our list, House Bill 76 ("Constitutional Carry"), passed in a much weaker form.

Bill Status: This bill passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house law enforcement and criminal justice committee (7 yeas, 3 nays, 0 absent/not voting), passed the house final vote (54 yeas, 12 nays, 9 absent/not voting), and died without receiving a final vote on the senate floor.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: GoUtah!; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Shooting Sports Council.

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House sponsor,
Keven Stratton

Senate sponsor,
John Valentine.
House Bill 287 S1 (amended):

Hey, Let's Leave Gun Confiscation up to the Prosecutor! [aka "Return of Weapons Recovered by Law Enforcement"] by representative Keven Stratton, district 48, "Republican".

HB 287 S1 strengthens the ability of government confiscation zealots to seize and confiscate guns from innocent owners, and NEVER return them.  This bill is an outrageous attack on the American tradition that people are innocent until PROVEN guilty by a jury of their peers.

CURRENT CONFISCATION ABUSES

Current state statute 76-10-525 states the following:

76-10-525. Disposition of weapons after use for court purposes.
All police departments and/or sheriff's departments which have in their possession a weapon after it has been used for court purposes shall determine the true owner of the weapon and return it to him; however, if unable to determine the true owner of the weapon, or if the true owner is the person committing the crime for which the weapon was used as evidence, the department shall confiscate it and it shall revert to that agency for their use and/or disposal as the head of the department determines.


How could a government prosecutor ever go wrong with absolute power over your firearms?
Because no time limit is imposed, and no penalty is given, state and local statute enforcement agencies can take a very long time to return firearms seized from innocent gun owners.  And they often do.

In addition to police agencies, prosecuting attorneys get to arbitrarily keep your firearms from you.  Consider current statute in lines 36-38 from HB 287 S1:

"When the prosecuting attorney is informed or otherwise becomes aware that the property is not needed as evidence, the prosecuting attorney shall authorize release of the property to the owner." (lines 36-38)

Again, no time limit is imposed, and no penalty is given.  And it gets worse in lines 66-69:

"If the prosecuting attorney considers it necessary to retain control over the evidence, in anticipation of possible collateral attacks upon the judgment or for use in a potential prosecution, the prosecuting attorney may decline to authorize return of the property to the owner." [bold added]

In other words, rather than the government having the burden to show it is entitled to keep the property, instead the property is kept when the "...prosecutor considers it necessary..." under various nearly unlimited conditions as determined by the prosecutor — and not by a jury of your peers.

HB 287 S1 MAKES THINGS WORSE

HB 287 S1 repeals statute 76-10-525 above, but makes things even worse in the process.  The original bill at least proposed a 30-day limit for the police to return a firearm.  The substitute bill eliminates that time limit.

Under new language, weapon retention/disposal is accomplished "...pursuant to the agency's weapon disposal policy if..." certain conditions are met such as being unable to determine the legal owner (lines 43-49).  If none of these conditions are met (presumably the case where the owner is innocent) there is no requirement for the weapon to be returned.

A contrast is created in statute between property that is a weapon (lines 43-49) and property that is not a weapon (lines 39-41).  In the latter case the owner is explicitly required to be notified that the property is to be returned while in the former case no such notification requirement exists.

At least the existing statute states that police/sheriffs "...shall determine the true owner of the weapon and return it to him..."  But HB 287 S1 repeals this language.

A further sinister situation exists where the weapon is not legally required to be returned.  In this case the legislature places no restrictions on how the weapon may be disposed or retained other than it shall be disposed pursuant to the agency's disposal policy.

Does this allow the police chief or sheriff to add these firearms to his personal collection or sell them to fund boondoggle travel or attendance at "conferences"?  Even if the agency policy were acceptable, no penalty is imposed for failing to follow it.

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
UT Gun Rights opposes HB 287 S1.  In America, people are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, and their means of defending themselves comprises a natural, inalienable right.  Once courtroom proceedings or investigations are complete involving a firearm and its owner has been convicted of no crime, it should immediately be returned.  If judges, prosecutors, or police fail to comply, they should be personally fined or criminally punished.

Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why are a gun control bills like these so common?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Because of the enormous power they wield, bills live or die based upon their whims and wishes.

Bill Status: This bill passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house law enforcement and criminal justice committee (6 yeas, 0 nays, 5 absent/not voting), passed the house (73 yeas, 0 nays, 2 absent/not voting), passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee with insignificant amendments (6 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting), passed the final senate floor vote (24 yeas, 0 nays, 5 absent/not voting), unanimously passed house floor vote to concur with the senate amendments (75 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah.

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House sponsor,
Ken Ivory
House Bill 321:

Reaffirming Federal Gun Controls [aka "Technical Amendments-Weapons"] by representative Ken Ivory, district 47, "Republican").  This threat assessment was last revised on 3/15/13 at 12:30 AM.

This bill re-enacts current state gun control restrictions against "short barreled" rifles and shotguns, further legitimizes federal gun control statutes, and provides another witness to the legislature's gun control agenda.

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
HB 321: Stand together for federal gun controls, comrades!
This bill changes the state statutory terms "sawed-off" and "short barrel" to "short barreled" to conform to federal statute.  Why?

Utah does not "conform" to the federal government with regard to banning automatic firearms.  Yet, we inconsistently follow federal gun control philosophy when it comes to arbitrary barrel lengths.  For example, those with any weapons awareness realize that exceptions already exist where handguns with short, rifled barrels will also accept .410 shotgun shells.

If legislators were in favor of states rights and your right to keep and bear arms, rather than worry about matching state statute with federal statute, they would repeal anti-gun provisions dealing with "short barreled" rifles or shotguns.

Instead, they are re-enacting this gun control provision and reinforcing the illegitimate power of the federal government.  UT Gun Rights opposes HB 321.


She who must be obeyed: house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Bill Status: This bill unanimously passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house judiciary committee (9 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the house final floor vote (68 yeas, 0 nays, 7 absent/not voting), passed the senate final floor vote (26 yeas, 1 nay, 2 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives", why do gun control bills like this gain traction?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.

As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, in this case Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), is the veritable house monarchess.  Among other inordinate powers, she alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY house committee — without any required review or confirmation process. Bills live or die almost entirely upon Rebecca Lockhart's whims and wishes, and your "representative" merely serves her will and agenda.  Whatever Lockhart wants, Lockhart gets.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah.

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Senate sponsor,
Daniel Thatcher

House sponsor,
Lee Perry
Senate Bill 80 S1:

Kangaroo Courts for Accused Gun Owners [aka "Removal from Database Restricting Firearm Purchase"] by senator Daniel Thatcher, district 12, "Republican".

Currently, people can be adjudicated "mentally incompetent" by a single, unelected judge or the judge's bureacrat (i.e. "court commissioner").

Under state statute 53-5-704(2)(a)(vii), a single such ruling by a veritable court dictator, provides sufficient cause for the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification to revoke that person's concealed carry permit.

This bill purports to provides a "procedure" for people who have had their concealed carry "permit" revoked.  Unfortunately:

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Thus saith the court dictator!
1) There is no guarantee of trial by a jury of one's peers; and

2) The court must affirmatively find "by clear and convincing evidence" (not even by a lower "preponderance of the evidence" standard) that the person is INNOCENT and that "relief would not be contrary to the public interest" (see lines 67-71).

UT Gun Rights opposes SB 80.  It is sad enough that government "permits" exist for natural rights that pre-exist governments.  In America, people are supposed to exercise their natural rights without "permit".  In addition, every person is innocent until proven guilty; not the other way around.

Before any accused loses a fundamental right, he/she must be found guilty (not innocent) through substantive due process, which includes the bedrock assurance of a TRIAL BY A JURY OF ONE'S PEERS.  See "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" by Accountability Utah).

The appeals process outlined by SB 80 S1 adds insult to injury by empowering more court dictators to give the wink and nod to their abusive and almost-entirely unaccountable colleagues. SB 80 S1 has more in common with court systems of the former Soviet Union, than it has with traditional standards of American jurisprudence.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
Bill Status: This bill passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee (3 yeas, 1 nay, 3 absent/not voting), passed the senate (23 yeas, 3 nays, 3 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the house with an insignificant amendment (62 yeas, 0 nays, 12 absent/not voting), passed the senate vote to concur with the house amendment (22 yeas, 3 nays, 4 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Observations: As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, is a veritable monarch.  Among other inordinate powers, he alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  In Niederhauser's case, this includes the senate judiciary, law enforcement, and criminal justice committee.  Whatever Niederhauser wants, Niederhauser gets.

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Senate sponsor,
Margaret Dayton

House sponsor,
Curtis Oda
Senate Bill 120 (amended):

Turning the State Forester into a Monarch [aka "Target Shooting and Wildlife Regulations"] by senator Margaret Dayton, district 15, "Republican".

This bill expands the political power of the state forester and county sheriff, but excludes the elected county legislative body from oversight.  The bill first amends current state statute as follows:

"If the state forester finds conditions in a given area in the state to be extremely hazardous, "extremely hazardous" means categorized as "extreme" under a nationally recognized standard for rating fire danger, he shall close those areas to any forms of use by the public, or to limit that use.  The closure shall include the prohibition of open fires for the period of time he finds necessary." (see lines 27-30)

SB 120 then adds the following new language:

"The closure shall include, for the period of time the state forester considers necessary, the prohibition of open fires, and may include restrictions and prohibitions on:
(i) smoking,
(ii) the use of vehicles or equipment;
(iii) welding, cutting, or grinding of metals;
(iv) fireworks;
(v) explosives; or
(vi) the use of firearms for target shooting. [bold added]
(c) Any restriction or closure relating to firearms use:
(i) shall be done with support of the duly elected county sheriff of the affected county or counties;
(ii) shall undergo a formal review by the State Forester and County Sheriff every 14 days; and
(iii) may not prohibit a person from legally possessing a firearm or lawfully participating in a hunt.
(d) The State Forester and County Sheriff shall:
i) agree to the terms of any restriction or closure relating to firearms use;
ii) reduce the agreement to writing;
iii) sign the agreement indicating approval of its terms and duration; and
iv) complete steps (d)(i) through (d)(iii) at each 14 day review and at termination of the restriction or closure." (see lines 32-32t)

The most recent amendments made to SB 120 are meaningless for the following reasons:

1) Closures do not involve a county legislative body to determine if there is a justifiable basis.

2) No option is provided for a person to obtain relief in a court, and the basis for doing so.

3) Some "national standard" is nebulous and vague.  Shall we leave such definitions up to the Obama administration?

SB 120 grants one bureaucrat and one sheriff near-absolute reign to restrict gun owners as they wish.  There is no time limit, restriction, or effective check or balance upon their power.

The games that can be played to selectively discriminate against gun owners are legion.  UT Gun Rights opposes SB 120 (amended).

Note: The state forester, not to be hampered by a lack of clear statutory authority, pre-emptively employed this power in 2012, when he issued the following order.

Bill Status: This bill passed Wayne Niederhauser's hand-picked senate government operations and political subdivisions committee (5 yeas, 0 nays, 2 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the senate (29 yeas, 0 nays, 0 absent/not voting), unanimously passed Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked house government operations committee (8 yeas, 0 nays, 1 absent/not voting), unanimously passed the house with amendments (67 yes, 0 nays, and 8 absent/not voting), and those amendments were unanimously approved by the senate (26 yeas, 0 nays, and 3 absent/not voting), and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Observations: In a "Republican"-dominated legislature, full of supposedly pro-gun "representatives" and "senators", why are a gun control bills like these so common?  There is a simple, yet disturbing answer.


They who must be obeyed: senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
As "Rule By Monarchy: How the House Speaker Manipulates Your Representative," effectively demonstrates, the house speaker, Rebecca Lockhart (district 64), and senate president, Wayne Niederhauser, are veritable monarchs.  Among other inordinate powers, each alone appoints EVERY member of EVERY committee — without any required review or confirmation process.  Because of the enormous power they wield, bills live or die based upon their whims and wishes.

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: GoUtah!; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Gun Owners video; Utah Shooting Sports Council.

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Ugly Bills


Are you gearing up for the legislature's annual snipe hunt?

Description: Bills so poorly written and useless, we can't think of a better category.

Did anyone ever take you on a snipe hunt as a child, chasing after an imaginary and ever-elusive target you could never find? It is a timeless and effective tactic of professional legislative manipulators to send well-intentioned citizens on snipe hunts as a diversion.

The justifiable emotion and energy of the citizen regarding an issue of importance is captured and applied to a task that can't or won't be accomplished — or is useless in its effect.  The status quo is thereby preserved and injustice is advanced.

 

 

 


House sponsor,
Brian Greene
House Bill 114 S2:

Divert Citizen Attention from the Legislature's Anti-Gun Agenda [aka "Second Amendment Preservation Act"] by representative Brian Greene, district 57, "Republican".

HB 114 S2 provides a great illustration of how snipe hunt "outfitters" (i.e. house monarchess Becky Lockhart and senate monarch Wayne Niederhauser and their loyal subjects) operate.  Playing off media hype and internet-based promotion, they present to you a bill that initially appears to powerfully assert the right to keep and bear arms and state authority against an overreaching federal government.  Close review exposes something else.

PROFOUND BILL FAILINGS

After some "tough talk" about states' rights in lines 47-58, the bill proposes the following in lines 62-29:

"(1) An officer or employee of this state, or of any political subdivision, may not enforce, attempt to enforce, or be compelled to enforce any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation relating to the intrastate ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, ammunition, or ammunition component.
"(2) An officer or employee of the federal government may not enforce or attempt to enforce any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation relating to the intrastate ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, ammunition, or ammunition component."

Examine how useless this language is in protecting or advancing citizens' rights.  The bills most obvious failings are as follows:

1) Violating state officers face no punishment.  The bill fails to apply any punishment to any state officer who cooperates with federal agents to prosecute citizens under unjust federal statutes.  It is therefore utterly toothless, and perpetuates an ugly and tiresome double-standard.  If this prohibition were directed at citizens, there would be a stiff punishment.  But somehow the legislature thinks it's ok to for state officers to escape the same treatment.

2) "Multi-jurisdictional" injustices continue.  The bill fails to prohibit state officers from participation in federally-led "multi-jurisdictional task forces".  Under these forces, state officers may call in federal agents to do their dirty work; to include performing unjust arrests and seizures.

3) "Intrastate" means nothing.  Under the fantastically extreme interpretations of federal courts, nearly everything that exists involves "interstate commerce" and is therefore subject to total regulation by the federal government.  The bill may as well read "commerce conducted on the moon."  This neutralizing verbiage is also contained in the "tough talk" of lines 47-58.

4) Might as well be a joint resolution.  Because it offers no punishment, fails to close the giant multi-jurisdictional task force loophole, and because "intrastate" is too cloudy to hold any weight, this bill might as well be a joint resolution by both houses.  It would have as much practical legitimacy, and would avoid outspokenly anti-gun governor Gary Herbert's veto powers.


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
WILL YOU SUCCUMB TO THE HB 114 S2 DIVERSION?

As earlier stated, the legislature will happily arrange for you to go snipe hunting to avoid your attention being placed on substantive concerns, including:

1) The enthusiasm of the legislature for their high priority anti-gun bills including HB 27, HB 28S1, HB 50, HB 121, HB 256, HB 268 S1, HB 287 S1, HB 321, SB 80, and SB 120.

2) The failure of the legislature to aggressively move forward and pass — in acceptable form ANY substantive advance for the rights of gun owners.  This includes HB 76, or "constitutional carry" (i.e. not registering with the state to protect yourself from criminal attack).  Instead of passing the original HB 76, they have watered it down in a substitute bill (see our assessment of HB 76 S1).

There are many things the legislature should be doing for gun owners.  See UT Gun Rights' current legislative priorities for a few ideas.

DOES HB 114 S2 SEND AN "IMPORTANT MESSAGE"?

HB 114 S2 may be termed a "message bill".  However, despite media hype to the contrary, it is a typical Machiavellian ploy.  The preceding analysis demonstrates that the bill does not provide the necessary punishment or prohibition against state officers undermining your rights for it to be effective.  The incursions of the federal government are allowed to continue unabated.

Meanwhile, the legislature continues to push anti-gun bills and does nothing to pass pro-gun bills as the legislative session time clock runs out. Here's the message we'd like you to receive: The media and the legislature have created a phony diversion in the form of HB 114 S2.  They hope you will be fooled into believing HB 114 S2 will somehow protect you against an aggressive and out-of-control federal government.

Bill Status: This bill passed the house judiciary committee (7 yeas, 2 nays, 0 absent/not voting), passed the final house floor vote (49 yeas, 17 nays, 9 absent/not voting), and died in the senate rules committee.

Appropriate Action: By wasting valuable and limited legislative time and your energy on this bill, cover is provided for the legislature to pass anti-gun bills and to do nothing to advance legitimate pro-gun bills.  Send the media and the legislature your own message: You will not be played for a fool by supporting bills like HB 114 S2!

Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: GoUtah!; Libertas Institute; Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah; Utah Gun Exchange; Utah Shooting Sports Council.


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House sponsor,
Richard Greenwood
House Bill 296:

Maybe Get Your Weapons Back Eventually [aka "Return of Weapons After Use in Court"] by representative Richard Greenwood, district 12, "Republican".

Currently, state and local statute enforcement agencies are under no substantive time restriction to return firearms seized by their agents.

This bill envisions a 30-day time limit for statute enforcement agencies to return firearms that are used in court proceedings (lines 37-43).  Unfortunately, it contains no teeth to back up such dreams.

How this bill could be improved: Thirty days is a ridiculously long time to return firearms to an innocent owner.  People are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, and their means of defending themselves comprises a natural, inalienable right.

If we ever impede on that right, it should only be after a very stringent, timely, and substantive due process.  And if statute enforcement agents make a mistake, they should be highly motivated to correct that mistake as soon as humanely possible.


HB 296 is a toothless diversion.
HB 296 also fails to address firearms NOT used for court proceedings. Because there is no evidentiary standard for them to meet, or court to satisfy, in determining whether the firearm has any relevance to their case, there exists no effectual restriction as to how long a statute enforcement agency can take to determine whether it will utilize a firearm for an upcoming court proceeding.

Finally, this bill lacks any penalty for government agents who fail to comply.  They can brush it off as they do many other toothless statutes.

Bill Status: This bill died in the house rules committee.

Appropriate Action: By wasting valuable and limited legislative time and your energy on this bill, cover is provided for the legislature to pass anti-gun bills and to do nothing to advance legitimate pro-gun bills.  Send the legislature your own message: You're tired of their toothless diversions.

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House sponsor,
Jacob Anderegg
House Bill 317:

Phony Protection of Your Concealed Carry Private Information [aka "Protection of Concealed Firearm Permit Information"] by representative Jacob Anderegg, district 6, "Republican").

UTAH'S HISTORY OF PRIVACY ABUSE

In our initial reading of HB 317 we hoped it might make forward progress in responding to a situation of great concern: protecting the personal information of firearms owners who hold concealed carry permits issued by the state of Utah.  The subject has been in the media ever since The Journal News published the names and mapped the addresses of concealed firearms permit holders in New York state following the Newtown massacre.

In contrast to New York, Utah considers this information to be protected and not subject to public release through freedom of information requests.  However, Utah has a shameful record of protecting private information.  For example, an April 2012 news story indicated that the private information of 780,000 people had been compromised by Eastern European hackers.

Based on what happened in New York, coupled with Utah's spectacular failure to protect private information, additional protection and accountability is warranted.


She who must be obeyed: house monarchess Rebecca Lockart.
POLITICAL THEATER 101

House monarchess Rebecca Lockhart and her willing collaborators now set the stage of political theatre and deception.  Her classic Machiavellian strategy is simple:

Act 1: Focus attention to something other than your own abusive behavior. In this case, focus on New York's problems while minimizing Utah's problems.

Act 2: Divert attention to a phony solution to privacy concerns, in this case HB 317.

Act 3: Dissipate energy to neutralize any threat to the status quo infringement of your rights.  In this case, convince activists that their best legislative recourse is to vigorously support HB 317.

PHONY SCRIPT

HB 317 desirably sets aside 63G-2-206 (mandating sharing protected information with the federal government) on line 34 and punishment for sharing is enforced on lines 37 and 41.  So far so good.

However, the replacement of a class B misdemeanor for a felony in lines 48 and 49 for improper sharing would seem to hold only if a reference was made to 53-5-708(1)(d) where the felony punishment is identified, and not 53-5-708(1)(c) as it is now written.  This creates confusion at best; at worst the apparent punishment on lines 37 through 41 is negated.


HB 317 is a toothless distraction.
The bill's pre-existing defenses to prosecution largely make any increased penalty irrelevant.  And of course bribery or theft of private records is just a misdemeanor too, and this provision also has its exceptions to prosecution.

HB 317 is a pathetic distraction and insult to sincere activists.  For the bill to be taken seriously, it would need to be amended to provide:

1) A clear application of a felony punishment for those who disclose protected records;

2) Restriction, or complete elimination, of the existing "defenses to prosecution", so that government bureaucrats would face the same potential for arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment that citizens do.

Bill Status: This bill passed the house and senate,  and was signed by outspokenly anti-gun governor Herbert.

Click here for status details.

Appropriate Action: By wasting valuable and limited legislative time and your energy on this bill, cover is provided for the legislature to pass anti-gun bills and to do nothing to advance legitimate pro-gun bills.  Send the legislature your own message: You're tired of their toothless diversions.

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Under Review

Disclaimer: May be a "Bad Bill" or "Ugly Bill," but we need more time to review it.

 

 

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