The Utah House of Representatives approved a bill that clarifies that a person cannot be charged with disorderly conduct for openly carrying a gun in public.
On a vote of 50-21 the House approved a bill that strengthens a person's right to open carry and not be cited for simply having a gun where the public can see.
"We have people that are legally carrying and committing nothing disorderly but being ticketed for disorderly conduct," Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, the bill's sponsor, said.
The bill, if it had been a law then, would have prevented a situation that took place at Utah Valley University in 2010 in which a student was stopped by campus police for openly carrying his gun on campus.
The student was hanging a banner at the school when fellow students noticed his gun. The students alerted campus police that a man had a gun on campus. Police asked him to conceal his weapon, which he did, until it was clarified whether open carry was allowed on UVU's campus. Under Ray's proposal the student wouldn't have been questioned because he didn't commit any questionable behavior.
Gun activists in the House said the bill is protecting people who are doing something legal and argued that guns are no more a threat to the public than other weapons used to harm people.
The bill now moves on to be considered by the Senate.