The people of Utah are about to see a layer of restrictions on their Second Amendment rights lifted.
Republican Gov. Spencer Cox told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that he would sign legislation this week to eliminate the permit requirement for residents of the Beehive State who want to carry concealed guns.
The new law, which passed both chambers of the Utah Legislature overwhelmingly, will allow any law-abiding Utahn 21 or older to carry concealed in the state. Naturally, people already prohibited from owning a gun, including convicted felons and the mentally ill, are not covered by the new policy.
Advocates for the bill called it a victory for gun owners and said it will be another layer of protection for people who are in danger because the current permitting process can take as long as 90 days, the Beacon said.
Pro-gun groups celebrated the soon-to-be law as evidence of the growing influence of Second Amendment advocates. More from the Beacon:
The repeal of permit requirements for concealed gun carry has accelerated over the past decade in a show of the increasing influence of gun owners and Second Amendment groups, especially at the state level. Utah is the 17th state to adopt a permitless carry system. While Vermont has used a permitless system since its founding, most states effectively banned any form of concealed gun carry until the mid-1990s. As recently as 1986, 16 states banned concealed gun carry while another 25 had laws allowing state officials to reject permit applications for any.
Now, no states outright ban concealed carry, and only eight states still allow officials to reject permit applicants who otherwise comply with training and background-check requirements.
Experts said the relaxation of concealed gun carry restrictions in recent years after concerted efforts from groups such as the National Rifle Association is proof of how influential politically active gun owners can be.
Of course, anti-gun groups claimed that loosening any gun laws will lead to increased gun violence.
But the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. David Hinkins (R), countered those typical talking points, noting that the safest states in the union — Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine — all have permit-less carry laws, the Beacon noted.
The law will go into effect on May 5.