Utah Lowering Concealed-Carry Age Requirement from 21 to 18

Prior to the bill many Utah students had no provision to legally carry on campus. (Photo: Students for Concealed Carry/Facebook)

Utah legislators took a big step toward protecting the rights of young adults in passing a bill expanding who can carry concealed firearms. The new law (.pdf) allows 18- to 20-year-olds to apply for concealed-carry permits.

The primary goal of the new law is to allow college students to carry concealed firearms on campuses. Many campuses prohibit open-carry, leaving these students without a legal way to exercise their rights.

The bill cleared the state Senate and House floors by wide margins. Only a small handful legislators voted to block the measure.

In Utah, like in many states, only adults 21 years of age and older were eligible to apply for concealed-carry permits. Under the new law, all adults can exercise their right to carry concealed.

“A group of 18- to 20-year old women brought this bill idea to Rep. Karianne Lisonbee … they wanted to be able to defend themselves,” said state Republican senator Todd Weiler, “because most colleges don’t allow open carry, any women 18- to 20-years-old in Utah cannot carry a weapon on most Utah college campuses.”

Weiler co-sponsored the legislation, House Bill 198. The bill was sponsored by Utah house republican Karianne Lisonbee.

“These kids are already allowed to carry, just not conceal carry,” Weiler said.

Opponents of the bill said that people aged 18-20 don’t have the “mental maturity” to carry concealed firearms. The bill’s supporters quickly pointed out that the same demographic has the right to open-carry, just not concealed-carry.

“They’re still kids in many ways,” said democratic representative Coral Moss. “I think it’s just beyond where we should be considering this … This is just a step too far.”

Republican representative Kim Coleman, countered, saying “A step too far is a completed rape.”

See Also: Feminist cancels university talk, cites Utah’s pro-concealed carry laws

“Most recent studies with improved methodology are consistently showing that the more forcible the resistance, the lower the risk of a completed rape,” Lisonbee said. “[Concealed-carry] is a woman’s best means of resistance”

Lisbonee cited a Justice Department study that indicates that almost one-quarter of all forcible rapes occur on campus. Only an estimated 5 percent of these crimes are reported to police.

Other critics said that the bill would provide greater access to firearms for people at risk of suicide. But again, the legislation doesn’t change who can own guns, it just extends the right to carry concealed to younger gun owners.

The bill creates a new “provisional” concealed-carry permit for 18- to 20-year-olds. These permits expire when the carriers turn 21. People aged 21 and over are licensed using the existing system.

The new law does not permit young adults to carry on public school property.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Spencer J. Lyman April 19, 2017, 10:19 am

    Young Men and Women Ages 18 to 20 Eligible to Carry Handguns and Automatic Rifles Would Be, Military of Course and Being Strenuously Trained…
    In Today’s World There’s a Lacking in Good Parental Education of Their Children on Common Sense and Reality of Being Responsible for Your Actions, Your Average 18 to 20 Year Old Today Hasn’t a Mature Mentality in Having the Responsibility for the Use of Weapons without Proper Supervision Less Being Individually Legalized to Conceal Carry…
    I Myself Was Raised with Weapons from an Early Age of 5, Common Place in My Day to Be Taught the Cautions and Repercussions of the Misuses in Handling of Weapons, More So Common in Rural Settings as Opposed to City.
    Being Taught About Weapons Relieved Me of the Curiosity Surrounding Weapons, for in My Day, Toy Guns Were Common Place and I Was Taught the Distinction Between a Toy and the Reality of an Actual Weapon.
    I Was Well Trained on Weapons Handling and Their Use Starting at Age 7 and Again, in My Day, it Wasn’t Uncommon for a Youth in a Rural Setting to Be Seen with a 22 Caliber Rifle in Public without Adult Supervision and Not Having Raised Any Concerns by Local Citizens… So My Opinion is Based Strictly Upon Good Common Sense as I’m Clearly Not an Opponent of Privately Owned Weapons, I Am a Pro US Constitutional Second Amendment Advocate…

  • Bryan Pesce April 1, 2017, 1:22 pm

    You can be mature enough to consent to sex at 16, You can be mature enough to drive a car at 16 , You can be mature enough to use a full auto machine gun in the military at 18, You can legally enter into a contract at 18, But your not mature enough to own a hand gun and conceal carry to defend yourself at 18. If your responsible for yourself and your actions at 18 because your a legal adult then you should be treated like one. An adult is an adult plain and simple.

  • Frank April 1, 2017, 8:50 am

    I don’t think it’s a really great idea for people under 21 in general to be able to carry hand guns (hunting and competition excluded). But then there are lots of people over 21 not mature enough to carry.

    As for as reciprocity — in most states they will honor the CWP, but you still have to follow THAT STATES rules. So Washington State can honor the Utah CWP while still requiring you to be 21 to carry while in Washington state. If that’s not the case then that’s what they should change, not a blanket removal of Utah permit holders from the list.

    • Dittohd April 2, 2017, 4:59 am

      Frank, what a moron you are. Just because you or your kids are too ignorant to handle a firearm does not mean others are not. Read Bryan Pesce comment you idiot. “The right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed” Are 16 year olds or 18 year olds not PEOPLE? I think they are. You, Frank, need to grow up and get your mind right.

  • Libertarian March 31, 2017, 11:18 am

    I thought you had to be 21 to purchase and own a handgun under federal law?

    • Marvin T. Martian March 31, 2017, 12:13 pm

      You do have to be 21 to purchase or be in the possession of a handgun or even buy ammunition for same, except .22cal

  • Dan March 31, 2017, 10:46 am

    Typical dumb-as-crap response – “you are too stupid to do that so I will tell you what you can or can’t do.” Some college campus’ I have been on are scary at night and the college is still doing classes without real security. Class I have been taking gets out after 9 PM and we leave in a group.

  • Lloyd March 31, 2017, 10:26 am

    And as Fan aptly pointed out, they are old enough to die defending our country, as I did in Viet Nam.

  • Sean March 31, 2017, 9:25 am

    Well now the Washington State Attorney General will remove Utah from the list of CCW reciprocity just like what happened when Florida started issuing CCWs 18 year old military veterans. The reason? “Allows persons under 21-yrs-old to have license.” See – http://www.atg.wa.gov/concealed-weapon-reciprocity

    • BluNos March 31, 2017, 12:59 pm

      All the more reason for national concealed carry reciprocity.

  • Fan March 31, 2017, 7:09 am

    Their old enough to go fight our wars for those that wish not too! So they are old enough to carry a firearm for their protection and yours even if you choose not to carry! There are some, lots of us that or not Wolves but, Shepherds to protect the flock

  • Ronald Gonshorowski March 31, 2017, 3:17 am

    Opponents say that they don’t have the mental maturity to carry concealed but they have the mental maturity to VOTE.

    • Dittohd April 2, 2017, 5:05 am

      Yes, If they can not carry then don’t let them VOTE, don’t let them serve in the military. Liberals would never go for that because too many 18-20 year olds vote for liberal things. Oh, we can fix that be not allowing Dems to carry but if you are a Republican you can carry. Sounds fair to me.

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