SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Weapons on public transportation. That was one of the debates among lawmakers this afternoon on Utah’s Capitol Hill.
“Some people might be worried. They think that people just shouldn’t be allowed to bring anything onto the bus at any time,” says Representative Norman Thurston (R), “but, what I want to emphasize here is that this isn’t about using a weapon, it’s about possessing.”
Today, House Bill 67 passed a committee hearing with a 9 to 1 vote. The bill which will now head to the house floor would create equity in regards to different dangerous weapon situations. Current state law differentiates between the possession of a dangerous weapon on Utah’s streets and public education but it doesn’t differentiate between what is and isn’t considered a dangerous weapon.
“If a person has a long pair of scissors in a big, if you’re walking down the street that’s presumed to be legal, there’s no prohibition of carrying a pair of scissors in a bag. But, if you get on a bus, that becomes a felony. So, the question is now why all of a sudden something that is perfectly legal to do walking on the street becomes a felony, just because you step on a bus,” added Thurston.
Representative Thurston doesn’t believe people who rely more on public transportation should be punished with a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon. So long as it stays that way.
“This bill removes that sort of ambiguity in the law and says, look as long as it’s concealed, if it’s kept away, you’re fine,” says Thurston.
The bill only addresses concealed weapons. Representative Thurston says, should someone brandish or threaten anyone with a weapon on public transportation, that would be a different situation and different laws would apply. This law, he says, is to make sure everyone is treated fairly and that law-abiding citizens aren’t charged with a felony for carrying a concealed weapon on a bus or train.