SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah House voted Tuesday to allow adults to carry concealed weapons without a permit, despite some GOP dissent.
Republican Rep. Merrill Nelson worried the idea would bring Utah one step closer to the "wild West," the Deseret News reported. Nelson said he was a gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, but argued that every amendment has limitations.
"Removing this permit requirement will make our society less safe," he said. "We have nothing to gain by passing this law. It solves no problem. But we have much to lose."
He and one other Republican, Rep. Jim Dunnigan of Taylorsville, joined Democrats in voting against the bill. It would drop requirements for adults to take a weapons class and pass a background check before carrying a concealed gun in public.
GOP sponsor Rep. Walt Brooks pointed out that Utah already allows people to openly carry a gun without a permit.
"This bill allows law-abiding citizens to be able to carry their weapons to protect themselves," Brooks said. "This is a good issue backed by good policy."
The proposal easily passed the House now heads to the Utah Senate. It's already garnered support from the governor.
The House voted to spend any unused money from permit fees on programs about suicide prevention and safe storage of firearms to mitigate the risk that fewer people will learn about those topics from concealed-carry classes.