Below is the letter that I sent on March 1, 2011 to Rep. Wimmer who sponsored HB 129 to remove to the requirement to obtain a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm. I also forwarded this email to several other members of both the Utah House and Senate.
Dear Rep. Wimmer,
I am a member of the NRA, an NRA Certified Instructor in four (soon to be five) disciplines, have a lifetime membership to Front Sight Training Institute, and a Certified Concealed Firearms Instructor for the State of Utah. I think it is obvious that I am a supporter of gun rights, and yet I oppose your bill that would make Utah a constitutional carry state. Let me explain why.
The current process does not limit anyone from carrying a gun by imposing any additional restrictions than a person would go through to purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer, except submitting fingerprints. If a person can legally purchase a gun they can get a permit. The class to get the permit is a means of protecting our law abiding citizens. I view the role of government as an institution meant to protect our citizens and their rights. Without the training received in the class, many citizens might inadvertently do something that could lose them their gun rights or their freedom. Learning the laws about where a person may carry and when force is justified is not an infringement of a persons rights, it is an act of responsibility on the part of government. A person could carry a gun into a Post Office and have committed a crime without knowing it. A person might use deadly force to take down a mugger that was fleeing after assaulting the shooter and think that they are within their rights and end up in jail. Someone might wait for an attacker to be inside their home before they shoot in self-defense and become a victim of their attacker rather than act as the person is attempting to break-in because they don’t know that they are justified in preventing the break-in.
I see a similarity to a drivers license. I can buy a car and drive it on my property without a license. But when I leave my property I need to have a license which states I know the laws of proper use of that vehicle and am not endangering others through ignorance.
I know that an armed citizenry is good for crime. But my concern is that crimes might be committed by good people who don’t know any better and cannot claim ignorance as a defense.
Another concern is that the permit is still needed to travel out of state, and how many of the 33 states that currently accept the Utah CFP will continue to accept it if we weaken the permit by not requiring it.
I am not alone in my opinion. Please protect our citizens by encouraging them to carry with knowledge and responsibly. I welcome your thoughts about this issue.
Jared A. Olschewski
Certified Firearms Instructor