"Did 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."
Despite objections detailed in the
threat briefing, HB 276 passed and was celebrated by various
organizations as a "win" for Utah gun owners.
Unfortunately, gun owners were betrayed by these organizations — again.
The 2015 session starts today (January 26), and this article is designed to assist you in detecting future
betrayals of your rights.
my question is, a mother with 2 or 3 children gets on a UTA
bus or a train and somebody gets on with a legal AK-47 and
they're full of combat uniforms and they've got a mask on and
they've got a backpack, and the children are frightened.
[The] children are very frightened and the woman with the
children and the family is also very frightened. Does this in
any way preclude that person from getting on the bus? Or does
this allow that person to brandish an AK-47 in a way that is
not aimed at anybody?"
HB 276 senate sponsor Scott Jenkins
"Well it allows that person
to comply with the same law that exists today. So, yes, the
weapons that they could carry before they can carry now.
What this does is this speaks to the right of the individual
who has the weapon with him. So it doesn't
change any of what you just said." [bold added]
"So, if I may do a follow-up mister president. So, this bill
doesn't address the fear, concern, bordering on very serious
concern, of this woman and her children getting on the bus
with somebody in combat fatigues and carrying an AK-47.
That was perfectly legal and will continue to be
perfectly legal." [bold added]
Senate sponsor Jenkins:
"Yes, that's correct." [bold added]
At this point, house statutator
Curtis Oda and senate statutator Curtis Bramble approached Jenkins and corrected him. Jenkins
then modified his previous answer:
"Yeah, that's true. They
[Oda and Bramble] just reminded me, this law has to do
with a weapon that is holstered and an AK-47 isn't holstered."
Statutator Jim Dabakis: "That a real
big holster?" [bold added]
Senate sponsor Scott Jenkins:
"Real big one. But,
it doesn't prevent an officer of the law who was riding there
from going up and talking to this individual, and saying,
'Hey, you're kind of out for a hunt, huh? What are you doing?'
That would not prevent him from doing that." [bold added]
What did Jenkins mean by that?
Prior to HB 276, while disorderly conduct statute was
to be abused by police on the street, it was technically legal to
open carry an AK-47 in public without a holster.
According to Jenkins, under HB 276 they would now need a "real
Would this bill impact the safety of
a gun owner who chose to open carry an unencased rifle or
not? Did Jenkins even comprehend what he was talking
about and what he was sponsoring?
If Jenkins was clueless, his pushers and handlers were
naïve. Senate statutator and "friendly amender" to HB
276, Mark Madsen, further clarified Jenkins' admission
beginning at 00:44:22 of the
same senate recording:
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Click on picture to enlarge.
"Thank you, mister president. I'd
like to just briefly explain my vote and in doing so add a
little bit to the conversation that took place. If it
was an AK-47 it would have to be encased. So it would have to
be carried in a case. So the idea that it could be brandished
is not something that should be concerned about. And
also if somebody was dressed in a way, it says in the absence
of any other element the possession of a gun alone does not
give rise to being sequestered by law enforcement. But
anything else, if they're dressed suspiciously, if they're
dressed in combat, or if they're dressed like a thug, or if
they're dressed... any other element would then enable the law
enforcement to engage that person and even detain them. But
it says in the absence of any other elements. So, that's one
of the reasons I'm very comfortable with this because
it has to be holstered or encased and because any
other element would trigger the additional scrutiny of law
enforcement and would not prohibit them from engaging that
person. So I just wanted to give my colleague from Salt Lake
[referring back to statutator Dabakis] that information so he
can reverse his vote if he wants to. I vote aye." [bold
words, Madsen was "very comfortable" because open carry rifle
owners must now "encase" them. At 00:36:40 of subsequent
house sponsor Curtis Oda stated the following in his support
that the house concur with the senate's amendments to HB 276:
"The language actually cleaned a lot
of things up and it makes it a lot clearer on intent."
Contrary to supporters' claims, the
intent had been quite clear to those paying attention.
Oda, who also chaired the house committee that approved HB
276, revealed the following before it passed that hearing:
"Furthering the question, Representative Merrill Nelson
(Republican – Grantsville) asked, 'If we have someone come
into a legislative hearing, carrying a rifle, is that
disorderly conduct?' To which Oda replied, 'If they do it to
make that kind of a political statement, and they're trying to
raise concern, it very well could be.
This bill does not prevent a
situation like that from being considered to be that.'"
Says Firearms in Public Do Not Constitute Disorderly Conduct,"
Michael Orton, Utah Political Capitol, March 11, 2014.
Keep in mind that last year, open
carry gun owners did come into hearings, and attended rallies,
with rifles slung on their backs. As UT Gun Rights had
warned, the previous sponsor of HB 276, statutator Paul Ray,
was unhappy with that open expression of rights, and more
forcefully declared of the bill:
Click on picture to enlarge.
"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 [conduct], WHICH YOU OUGHT TO BE.
But if you have your handgun holstered then you are ok." [bold
and bold caps added]
bill to further define open carry laws,"
by Mary Richards, KSL.com, Jan. 3, 2014.
Speaking of his nearly identical bill
in 2013, Ray shared the following:
"Rep. Paul Ray,
R-Clearfield, sponsor of HB268, said if the bill
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 [HB
268 in the 2013 session] is not about allowing
people to open carry,'" Ray said."
Gary Herbert says he doesn't like 'constitutional
Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, Feb. 28 2013.
HB 276's handlers repeatedly and
consistently revealed their intent to initiate an unjustified
attack on open carry gun owners.
Citizens in states like
Washington, and elsewhere openly carry rifles to their
state capitols and elsewhere as a form of peaceful political
protest, and to remind the government that it is subordinate
to the people.
By passage of HB 276, the state of
Utah and its anti-gun collaborators have established by force
that the people here are subordinate to government.
"Everybody's Good With This"?
In the final hours of the session,
and without time for the public to fully assess them,
amendments to HB 276 were proposed and passed that only
worsened the bill. According to the
previously-cited senate floor recording, at 00:39:45, senate
"friendly amender" Mark
"I'm supposed to tell everybody [to]
disregard all the 'no amendment' alerts you've been getting
from the NRA and from [Utah] Shooting Sports Council. I'm
here to tell you that this is an acceptable amendment to the
NRA and [Utah] Shooting Sports Council. We've worked with
them. But they had sent out that 'no amendment' language or
warning to everybody and I guess they trusted me to be the
bearer of the nullification of those alerts. So
everybody's good with this. The gun community's good with
this, and so I would urge your support." [bold
Indeed, many supposedly representing the gun
owner community did
support this bill, including (links to their articles are
hyperlinked as well):
National Rifle Association (NRA)
Utah Gun Exchange
Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC)
Not "everyone" in the "gun community"
supported HB 276, however, and neither was UT Gun Rights the
only public opponent. Many concerned citizens contacted
statutators and the above organizations to argue against HB
276 on the grounds that it was a gun control bill and a
betrayal of their open carry brothers and sisters.
Ironically, there were no
votes to Madsen's amendment in the senate. And for its
final passage, many traditionally anti-gun Republicans and
Democrats jumped on board to ensure its overwhelming passage (27
yeas, 1 nay, 4 absent/not voting).
who interacted with statutators reported that these "friendly"
amendments were added to make the bill even more palatable to
anti-gun organizations like the secretive
Enforcement Legislative Committee,
which reversed its earlier position and publicly supported the
Even the notorious
Utah League of Cities & Towns
(ULCT), a United
Nations-like conglomerate that
zealously pursues gun control,
was conspicuously neutral on HB 276. Consider this from
General Legislative Session"
"After negotiations with the
Utah Police Chiefs Association, Utah Sheriffs Association, the
Utah Attorney General's Office, and ULCT, we came to a
consensus on this legislation. As such, we don't
expect future legislation." [bold added]
Are you comforted that three
organizations publicly exposed for supporting gun control (see
Chiefs Overwhelmingly Support Gun Control," and, "Why
Did Utah's Sheriffs Oppose HB 76?")
all shared a kumbaya moment over a supposed gun rights bill?
Could it be that the ULCT doesn't
expect future bills on this issue because these committed gun
control advocates got what they expected from HB 276?
Distrust & Verify versus Lazy
In the 2013
Utah Government Corruption Report,
UT Gun Rights warned that false friends pretend to oppose your
enemies, and will sometimes put on a good show to maintain
favor with you. But in moments of political crisis and at
other times, they will serve their true masters and act in
direct contradiction to their public speeches and statements.
Such betrayal can seem baffling,
because many people can't imagine anyone being so manipulative
and deceitful. Can they possibly be THAT two-faced and
corrupt? Yes, they can.
And therein lies a vital lesson for
Utah gun owners; one that UT Gun Rights will repeatedly
attempt to convey. It is important to remain
apprehensive about those who tell you things you want to hear.
It is unwise to accept any individual or organization as the
authority on a bill or issue. All humans are fallible,
and any person or group of persons might, at any time, make
significant errors or even purposely attempt to mislead you.
"I could learn a
thing or two from you statutator folks in Utah!"
cautions also apply to UT Gun Rights, and it has set strict
to encourage you to continuously scrutinize the information
provided to reach your own conclusion.
solely responsible to examine the evidences and opinions, and
to determine the facts and your course of political action.
As the preeminent American revolutionary Thomas Paine
"Those who are not in the
representation, know as much of the nature of business as
those who are… Every man is a proprietor in government, and
considers it a necessary part of his business to understand.
It concerns his interest, because it affects his property. He
examines the cost, and compares it with the advantages; and
above all, he does not adopt the slavish custom of following
what in other governments are called LEADERS…"
Will you be content to be "led" by various
organizations professing your best interests?
Or are you willing to chart a different course — your own course —
by creating your personal political agenda and by carefully
scrutinizing all the information you receive?
In creating your personal political
agenda, consider carefully how an ethical and legitimate
government would operate. UT Gun Rights has created its
draft Affirmative Agenda for your review and critique.
Again, the 2015 annual
statutory session begins today (January 26). UT Gun
Rights offers its
2015 Bill Tracking Page: The Good,
The Bad, and The Ugly, as one perspective for you
to carefully scrutinize.