A bill approved by a Utah legislative committee would codify licensed concealed-weapons holders’ ability to carry loaded guns openly in almost any publicly owned space in Utah, including university campuses, public schools, sports arenas, and hospitals, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. University of Utah officials have largely abandoned their opposition to concealed weapons on campus, but they have held firm on the “open carry” issue, contending current law requires that firearms allowed by concealed-weapons permits must remain concealed if they are brought onto school grounds. They cite the potential disruption caused by public display of weapons.
“I’m not saying [open-carry is] a great idea; I’m just saying it’s not illegal,” said gun-rights lobbyist Clark Aposhian. “This [legislation] is not creating new law. It’s a definition of an existing ability permit holders already have.” University officials hope the bill will not pass. “It would be incredibly disruptive to the educational environment,” said Fred Esplin, vice president for institutional advancement. “The difficulty is that if someone shows up in a class, dormitory or library openly carrying a weapon, it’s impossible to know their motives and intent  If someone openly carries a gun into a lecture hall with 300 students, you would not be able to ask him if he is licensed. The only recourse you have is to hope for the best or call the police. It’s an untenable situation.”