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Home > Alerts & Updates > 2015 Bill Tracking Page > SB 256: Carry "Unloaded" Firearms Concealed


senate sponsor,
David Hinkins

house sponsor,
Paul Ray
Senate Bill 256: Carry "Unloaded" Firearms Concealed

by statutator David Hinkins, senate district 27, "Republican".

Summary: SB 256 would "allow" adults (21 or older) to carry concealed firearms in an "unloaded" condition without a government concealed carry "permit".

Adults could possess concealed firearms in this "unloaded" condition in areas currently authorized to concealed carry government "permit" holders only (with the exclusion of any school or university grounds).

The absurdly offensive inclusion of the term "unloaded" essentially means that no bullet is in the chamber or, in the case of revolvers, in a firing position (where a single action may cause the gun to fire).

Update: Some have assumed that the "unloaded" condition requirement was removed by a senate floor amendment.  UT Gun Rights does NOT concur with this analysis. The amendment simply removed a redundancy in the bill.  The "unloaded" requirement remains, as Utah statute 76-10-504(2) remains in effect for those without a government concealed carry "permit".

Notice that lines 86-87 of SB 256 exempt both 76-10-504(1) and (2) for government concealed carry "permit" holders, but lines 95-96 only exempt 76-10-504(1) for those WITHOUT a government concealed carry "permit".


Running it for real this time?
Position*: UT Gun Rights supports this bill as a baby step in the right direction, though it is poorly written and not nearly as comprehensive as it should be.  One factor in this decision regards individuals who currently choose to exercise their natural right to carry a concealed firearm — loaded or "unloaded" — without a government "permit".  Under SB 256, it appears that, in most instances, they would be less likely to be molested by statute enforcement agents (SEAs) than they are currently.

*Special Note: Be aware that in 2013, governor Herber joined statutators, supposed gun rights champions, and others in a grand deception with an identical bill (HB 76 S1).  See the 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report's article, "HB 76: Political Theater for Suckers."

Status: DEAD. SB 256 passed its senate committee (4 yeas, 1 nay, 1 absent), passed the senate (21 yeas, 6 nays, 2 absent), and died in Greg Hughes' hand-picked rules committee.  See its bill status page.  To contact your statutators, click here.

"Reload" this page to see latest information.  Last updated: 4/3/15 at 12:20 PM.

Jump Down to Topics:

1. A Baby Step Forward

2. "Loaded" Terms in Statute

3. Your Rights Pre-Exist the Birth of any Government

4. Utah is Behind More Gun-Friendly States

5. What Gun Control Opponents Argue

6. Appropriate Action: Contact the Two Bullies Who Dominate Your Statutators

7. Gary "BB Gun" Herbert Also Trying to Bully Your Statutators


When it comes to securing your rights, statutators act like toothless babies.
A Baby Step Forward

SB 256 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 public buses (see HB 350), and 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 peaceful gun owners through use of the term "unloaded".  Will statute enforcement agents (SEAs) be checking to see if anyone is carrying concealed under the auspices of ensuring that weapons are in an "unloaded" condition?  If so, dangerous situations could potentially result.

Update: Some have assumed that the "unloaded" condition requirement was removed by a senate floor amendment.  UT Gun Rights does NOT concur with this analysis. The amendment simply removed a redundancy in the bill.  The "unloaded" requirement remains, as Utah statute 76-10-504(2) remains in effect for those without a government concealed carry "permit".

Notice that lines 86-87 of SB 256 exempt both 76-10-504(1) and (2) for government concealed carry "permit" holders, but lines 95-96 only exempt 76-10-504(1) for those WITHOUT a government concealed carry "permit".

Back to Topics

"Loaded" Terms in Statute


"Have we got a 'loaded' package deal for you gun owners!"
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.

Therefore, an "unloaded" condition is assumed to be anything other than a "loaded" condition, though no definition of "unloaded" is provided in statute or administrative rules (the fourth branch of Utah government see UT Gun Rights' threat assessment for HB 37 for more information). 

As stated in the summary, "unloaded" 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).  In the case of magazine-fed weapons, "unloaded" theoretically means you could have a full magazine in the weapon, but a round could not, under SB 256, be chambered.

UT Gun Rights is 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 substantive information against it, however, UT Gun Rights still supports this poorly-written and weak bill.  Again, one factor in this decision regards individuals who currently choose to exercise their natural right to carry a concealed firearm — loaded or "unloaded" — without a government concealed carry "permit".  Under SB 256, it appears that, in most instances, they would be less likely to be molested by statute enforcement agents (SEAs) than they are currently.

Back to Topics


Revolutionary army soldier and practiced philosopher Thomas Paine.
Your Rights Pre-Exist the Birth of any Government

The right to defend one's self upon private or shared (i.e. public) property, either by possessing a weapon openly or in a concealed fashion, pre-exists government. In other words, it existed naturally and was freely exercised before such enslavement statutes and "permits" were imposed.

As pre-eminent American revolutionary Thomas Paine expressed it,

"Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have less rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights."
Source: Rights of Man, Part I, by Thomas Paine in 1791.

Carrying your firearm — concealed or openly — is your right, NOT a bureaucrat-sanctioned privilege.

Government and private organizations and citizens are not restricted from OFFERING training. But restrictions upon natural rights — such as the right to protect one's self — must be predicated and substantiated upon more than the fear that an adult MIGHT abuse them in the future.

Back to Topics

House Monarch-ess, Rebecca Lockhart
Why is SB 256 so weak? Because Utah gun owners still sit at the back of the political bus.
Utah is Behind More Gun-Friendly States

The original HB 76 in 2013 (from which this bill is modeled) went significantly further toward advancing one of UT Gun Rights' Affirmative Agenda items.  It essentially eliminated the requirement to obtain a government "license" in order to carry a concealed weapon.

And why not?  Several states (Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming) have done this and several others are attempting it.  Vermont (and therefore Alaska, Arizona, and theoretically Oklahoma via reciprocity) allows 16-year-olds to carry loaded concealed (see additional source).

It is an absurdity that a person carrying openly becomes a criminal by putting on a windbreaker or jacket.  And it is equally absurd for that person to have to keep her firearm in an "unloaded" condition.

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

Back to Topics


Remember this fiasco?
To learn more, click here.
What Gun Control Opponents Argue

Opponents of SB 256 typically argue that allowance for carry of unloaded, concealed firearms is already addressed for those who obediently subject themselves to the Utah "permit" system.  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 in 2013 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 carry knives and loaded firearms concealed ANY TIME THEY CHOOSE.

Back to Topics


These playground bullies steal more than your lunch money.
Appropriate Action: Contact the Two Bullies Who Dominate Your Statutators

As the 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report amply demonstrates, two playground bullies abuse and dominate the house and senate and work together to destroy your rights: house speaker Greg Hughes 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. Hughes 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 committees…" (SR1-3-102. 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 bullies.

Previous House Bully Becky Lockhart candidly admitted her power to the press:

"I empower [house] committee chairs..." [bold added]
Source: "Bill banning enforcement of federal gun laws 'stuck in limbo'," by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, Feb. 22, 2013.

Lockhart's successor, Greg Hughes, now empowers the chairs of each house committee because he appoints and fires them at his will alone, as does Niederhauser for every senate committee.

Their powers are so extreme, no provision exists in the house or senate rules to fire these bullies 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 bullying.

The political buck stops with Hughes and Niederhauser for failing to advance positive gun owner bills, and for every gun control bill enacted. Until more statutators are motivated to oppose their power, your rights will continue to be undermined.

Because your house and senate statutators merely serve their will and agenda, contacting them is often just a courtesy call.  These two bullies hold the power over Utah's statutarium ("legislature"):

For House Bully Greg Hughes' contact information (and the rest of the house statutators), click here.  For Senate Bully Wayne Niederhauser's contact information (and the rest of the senate statutators), click here.

Back to Topics


Executive Monarch Gary "BB Gun" Herbert loves gun control. Click on picture to enlarge.
Gary "BB Gun" Herbert Also Trying to Bully Your Statutators

House Bully Greg Hughes and Senate Bully Wayne Niederhauser aren't the only bullies in Utah's capitol.  Executive Monarch Gary "BB Gun" Herbert has again threatened to veto SB 256.

This is no surprise, as Herbert has repeatedly demonstrated his rabid gun control agenda.  Among other things, Herbert:

* Received an abysmal -100% on UT Gun Rights' 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report;

* Has publicly promoted background checks for BB Guns (yes, you read that correctly); and

* Participated in an unethical, grand deception to defeat a nearly identical bill (HB 76 S1 in 2013).

Rather than stand up to Herbert, statutators like supposed "gun control champion" Curtis Oda are cowing to his bullying.  Oda recently withdrew his nearly identical bill (HB 260) to supposedly "work it out" with Herbert.

To those who are observant, this was also no surprise, as Oda did poorly (-75% rating) on UT Gun Rights' 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report; sponsored gun control in 2013 (SB 120: "Turning the State Forester into a Monarch"), in 2014 (HB 276: "Violence Against Open Carry Gun Owners"), and has already sponsored HB 37: "Gun Control by Bureaucrats" this session.

Imagine the wonderful results gun owners can expect from these upcoming backroom deals with Herbert.  Will they be joined by "firearms community" stalwarts like Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC) chairman, W. Clark Aposhian, who appeared to secretively facilitate opposition to HB 76 in 2013?

For Executive Monarch Gary "BB Gun" Herbert's contact information, click here.

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

Back to Topics


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