House Bill 276:
Violence Against Open Carry Gun Owners
house district 14, "Republican", and statutator
Scott Jenkins, senate district 20, "Republican".
you (or a friend) strap on a rifle for a rally/hearing, or to
sell outside a gun show?
If HB 276 passes, unholstered open carry gun owners will be targeted for violent harassment
and arrest. Other gun owners will be at increased risk
of abuse as well.
bill passed the house (63
yeas, 8 nays, 4 absent/not voting), passed the senate (27
yeas, 1 nay, 1 absent/not voting), and
signed by Executive Monarch Gary Herbert.
UT Gun Rights opposes
this bill. See its
bill status page. To contact your statutators,
this page ("F-5" on most browsers) to
see latest version.
Last updated: 3/14/14 at 1:00a.
The Devilish Details: The
"Holstered or Encased" Trap
Ready to live in a state
where people like these are specifically targeted for "disorderly conduct"?
Click on picture to enlarge.
Currently, police have broad statutory
latitude to harass, intimidate, and arrest gun owners in public situations via
"disorderly conduct" and other nefarious statutes.
276 is an attack on gun owners who open carry, and makes
things worse with regard to "disorderly conduct" statutes.
Lines 28-38 outline current statute
(deleted language has strikethrough) and new proposed language
(underlined and italicized):
"(1) A person is guilty of disorderly
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]
engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening
(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
HB 276 then adds the following
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
section, the belief of a reasonable person may not be based on a mistake
of law..." (lines 43-47) [bold added]
You probably noticed that the "exclusion" created above
only applies to "holstered" or "encased" firearms. What
if you possess a firearm in any other condition in public?
"Have we got a deal for
you gun owners!"
Let's say you, like many other Utahans,
strapped on a rifle (loaded or unloaded) to peacefully attend a pro-gun rally or
hearing at the state capitol?
In the corrupt world of statutory
language, by specifically exempting one thing (carrying a firearm in a
holster), other things in that same class are allowed (i.e.
the government can prosecute gun owners who carry without a
In other words, because this new "exclusion"
specifically EXCLUDES YOU, you are now singled out for extra
police scrutiny and potentially violent harassment and arrest.
It is therefore reasonable to read
what is — at a minimum — implicitly authorized for
prosecution by reversing the language of the exception as
"The mere carrying or possession of a
un-encased firearm, whether
visible or concealed, without additional behavior or
circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe
the un-holstered or
un-encased firearm was carried
or possessed unlawfully or with criminal intent, does
constitute a violation of this section."
The language "holstered or encased"
was specifically written to exclude firearms that are not
encased or holstered.
If HB 276 is passed, citizens who desire to safely and
peaceably carry rifles in a "public place" may expect to be
threatened and possibly violently attacked and arrested by
People frequently carry unholstered, unencased pistols and rifles in to and outside of gun
shows as well. Under HB 276, is there any doubt that officials like gun
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
would see this
conduct as serving "no legitimate purpose"?
Again, under HB 276 harmless
activities and people can be targeted because they are
NOT specifically exempted.
Nebulous Phrases Rarely Help
Under HB 276, this sort of behavior and
spirit would be banned in the state of Utah.
HB 276 also introduces nebulous phrases
like "reasonable person" with belief in potential "criminal
intent" — phrases that are historically abused by police
agencies and prosecutors. Innocent gun owners always lose when
statute is unclear. What it really means is that if
you're carrying a gun around, you will be more vulnerable to
harassment, intimidation, physical (and financial) abuse,
arrest, and prosecution under HB 276.
HB 276 proponents ignore the fact that
this new 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.
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 276 will make it easier to harass and prosecute
Here's the bottom line. If statutators were
truly 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
In addition to clear language, there
would be a clear penalty for police who blatantly harass such
people. There is none. This double-standard is
typical amongst gun controllers. Citizens are always
punished while police, prosecutors, and judges may choose to
violate statute with government-sanctioned immunity.
Previous Sponsor Paul Ray Portrayed HB 276 as Gun Control
House statutator Paul Ray recently handed HB 276 off to
Bill supporters continue to ignore the fact that Paul Ray candidly and repeatedly shared his
desires to utilize HB 276 to expose open carry gun owners to possible violent attack by
"So if someone is carrying a gun
around in their hand they can be cited. This bill really
clarifies things and gives them an outline to go by of in this
situation you can write a ticket and in this situation you
can't. If they strap a rifle onto their back
and walk into JC Penney, you can be cited for
disorderly, which you ought to be. But if you have
your handgun holstered then you are ok." [bold added]
Click on picture to enlarge.
bill to further define open carry laws," by Mary Richards,
KSL.com, Jan. 3, 2014.
"'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
in the 2013 session] 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
passes bill on openly carrying firearms," David Montero,
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 28 2013.
"Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, sponsor of HB268, said
in the 2013 session]
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
in the 2013 session]
is not about allowing people to open carry,'" Ray
said." [bold added]
Gary Herbert says he doesn't like 'constitutional carry' bill,"
Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, Feb. 28 2013.
Ray's allegiance was NOT to innocent gun owners. He
in favor of seeing them harassed, arrested, and
potentially violently abused under the auspices of "disorderly
Curtis Oda was likewise less than impressive on
UT Gun Rights'
2013 Utah Government Corruption Report, receiving a
to demonstrate his strong
commitment to abuse of government power.
Why Are "Gun Rights" Groups Supporting Gun
Remember this fiasco?
2013 Utah Government Corruption Report, a
2013 rally flier, and elsewhere, UT Gun Rights
warned how false friends appear to be on your side, but
fundamentally serve the purposes of your opposition. And how
important it is to remain apprehensive about those who tell
you things you want to hear.
UT Gun Rights also revealed a
Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC) chairman W. Clark Aposhian and
Mike Mower, Executive Monarch Gary Herbert's Deputy for
Community Outreach. In it, Aposhian appeared to secretively
facilitate opposition to last year's gun rights bill HB 76
(i.e. to carry "unloaded" firearms concealed without a permit).
To read the transcript,
Unfortunately, the betrayals and
undermining of your rights continue. According to a
recent alert by the USSC, HB 276,
"…Is a well-reasoned bill which will
take pressure off of both law-enforcement and the courts. It
supplies law enforcement with more precise guidance on what
constitutes disorderly conduct so as to not punish innocent
USSC Alert for Jan. 23, 2014.
Why would this organization, which
claims to represent the rights of Utah's gun owners, argue
such nonsense? Could it possibly have missed previous sponsor
Paul Ray's public and
oft-repeated objectives? Or is it complicit in the
effort to attack gun owners who choose to carry openly?
USSC mentioned the "concern" UT Gun
Rights has consistently raised in the following manner:
"Firearms that are not encased or not
holstered would continue to be treated as they are today.
Carrying guns in such a manner would not necessarily be
disorderly conduct, most law enforcement officers would
respect your right to carry in such a manner, and the few
miscreant law enforcement officers who have been abusing gun
owners would continue to do so.
"Improving gun laws is an ongoing
process and we hope to make more improvements to this section
of the law in the future.
"A concern that has been raised with
the above language is that since it explicitly exempts
holstered and encased firearms from disorderly conduct it
would imply that the carrying of un-encased or un-holstered
firearms is disorderly conduct.
Both our and NRA’s legal counsel has looked at this and
determined that this is not the case."
USSC Alert for Mar. 6, 2014.
And where are these attorneys' substantive arguments in
support of such a claim?
Perhaps nothing more is provided because it would
subject them to condemnation and ridicule.
USSC would have you base your position
on HB 276 solely on trusting their (and supposedly the NRA's)
attorneys. Was it
USSC’s attorney who determined last year that USSC Chairman
Clark Aposhian should
secretive efforts to coordinate the opposition to HB 76 by
the Crossroads of the West Gun Show owner to governor
Should you likewise trust the legal
judgment of the NRA?
in 2002 the NRA supported SB 950 in California to create the
Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).
On January 27, 2014, the
NRA issued an alert regarding the monster APPS they helped
to create by stating,
these raids [resulting from APPS] are promoted by politicians
as intended to disarm dangerous criminals, they actually more
often target unsuspecting citizens who present no danger and
have no idea that they are prohibited from possessing firearms
Are USSC and the NRA engaged
in a sickening "job security" program by promoting anti-gun
owner bills and politicians and then "being there" to help
fight against the terrible consequences they helped to create?
USSC is not alone in subjecting Utah's
open carry gun owners to potential violent attack by
government statute enforcement agents. According to GoUtah!:
"The 'reasonable person' standard as used in this bill creates
a high level of protection for someone who is legally and
peaceably carrying a holstered self-defense
weapon. The language invoking the hypothetical 'reasonable
person' is a long-established legal standard used in many
existing statutes, including Utah’s self-defense law.
"This is a big improvement over the existing law in our
opinion, and HB276 as currently written would enable us to
achieve this improvement without surrendering any freedoms
that we already have. It’s the equivalent of taking two steps
forward without taking any steps backward on our journey
toward greater legal recognition of the right to bear arms."
GoUtah! alert for
Jan. 29, 2014.
There's that pesky gun control keyword
again: "holstered". What about those who strap them on or
hold them proudly at rallies, as their forefathers did before
them? Their rights, apparently, are no longer included
by organizations like USSC and GoUtah!.
GoUtah! reacted to UT Gun Rights' above criticisms of HB
276. Unfortunately, it failed to provide substantive
facts or analysis to back up its repeated claims.
Consider that, were USSC's or GoUtah's opinions indeed accurate, then the previous bill sponsor,
statutator Paul Ray, is either lying to the public, or
obliviously unaware of what his own bill would have actually
Appropriate Action: Contact
The Two People Who Own the Statutarium ("legislature")
2013 Utah Government Corruption Report amply demonstrates,
two monarchs abuse and dominate the house and senate and work
together to destroy your rights:
house speaker Rebecca Lockhart and
senate president Wayne Niederhauser. Contrary to what you
learned in civics class, your house and senate statutators
merely serve their gun control agenda.
How can two people possibly exercise
such control? As one example, the house speaker and senate
president alone appoint and remove EVERY member of EVERY
committee. Lockhart and Niederhauser are empowered to do this
without any review or confirmation process.
Sources: “The general duties of the
Speaker are to:... appoint the members of committees…” (House
Rules 1-3-102. Duties of the speaker) and “The general
duties of the president are to:… appoint the members of
Duties of the president)
Consider the vast implications of this
incredible power! No bill may be voted on in the house or
senate without going through a committee. As a result, bills
live or die almost entirely upon the calculated orders of
these two monarchs.
Their powers are so extreme, no
provision exists in the house or senate rules to fire the
monarchs before their two-year terms are over. They lord over
each body, trade favors, and sell your rights; all while
pretending that decisions are made by the will of the majority
instead of their monarchial authority.
The political buck stops with Lockhart
and Niederhauser for failing to advance positive gun owner
bills, and for every gun control bill enacted. Until more
statutators are motivated to oppose the iron fists of the
monarchs’ near absolute power, your rights will continue to be
Because your house and senate statutators
merely serve their will and agenda, contacting them is often
just a courtesy call. Only two people hold the power
over Utah's statutarium ("legislature"):
For House Monarchess Rebecca Lockhart's contact
information (and the rest of the house statutators),
click here. For Senate Monarch Wayne
Niederhauser's contact information
(and the rest of the senate statutators),
Other views & opinions to compare and contrast:
National Rifle Association;
Utah Political Capitol;
Utah Shooting Sports Council
Click here to go back
to The 2014 Bill Tracking Page: The Good, The Bad, and The