Over the last several months, residents of Morgan County have become increasingly interested in concealed weapons permits. Months before the recent rampage in Connecticut and other terrible scenes, local citizens started the process to legally carry a gun.
In September, Anja Lowe began advertising and setting up concealed weapons classes in Morgan. The instructor, Curt Lowe, currently resides in Pleasant Grove. He is confident in his knowledge after retiring as a police officer in California. He also has experience as a detective, coroner, range master, and firearms instructor.
“He’s a great teacher and has a ton of fascinating stories he includes in his course,” Anja says of her father in law.
The Lowes have had great reception in Morgan. In the last trimester of the year they have instructed 70 participants. Of those who have participated, 34 of them have been women. This is higher than what has traditionally been expected. There are two classes scheduled for January. Of the 30 people that signed up by mid December, half of them were women. Anja credits this to her marketing directly to women. In the past, this segment of the market may have been overlooked. They will continue to add classes as there is a demand.
While there has always been a steady demand for concealed weapons permits, there was a surge of new interest after the November election. Some people fear the current president will make it harder to obtain firearms. They experienced another surge after the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook. This is not unusual. Often when there is a spike in violence, there is a spike in the number of people who want to carry handguns.
In addition to the class required to receive the concealed weapons permit, Anja recommends taking NRA safety training courses. (Information can be found at NRA.org.)
It is important to know how to use the gun that will be carried. Local instructor Randy Watt knows the laws that surround concealed weapons permits. Having worked as a police officer for 32 years, he understands both the view of a private citizen, as well as that of law enforcement. Watt is passionate about the second amendment right to bear arms. He teaches concealed weapons permit classes; however, he doesn’t stop at the four-hour minimum the state requires. He adds an additional eight hours of training on a range, tripling the time to ensure every student feels comfortable and confident with a handgun. He finds that by adding the additional time to training, more people actually carry a concealed weapon instead of just the permit.
Anja also recommends those carrying decide personal parameters of when to use a gun. Within the law, there are different situations in which people may use their gun and when they shouldn’t. She suggests there can be emotions after a situation on both sides whether a gun was used or not.
When it comes to concealed weapons, local instructor Doug Ford cautions, “The most important thing for people to think about is if they could actually shoot someone. A person needs to make peace with themselves, if they could shoot someone or not.” Ford feels that if a person would not be able to shoot someone “they have no business carrying a gun.” He warns that if a person has a gun and is unwilling to use it, the criminal can take it away and use it.
“Utah is well known for its relaxed stance on gun control; the laws are pretty liberal,” Anja says. She clarifies that liberal should not be taken in the political sense. Utah state laws are more liberal in that they allow more people to legally carry guns.
The concealed weapon permit allows the bearer to legally carry a gun; however, there are limitations. For example, some churches and businesses may have a ban. The law varies depending on the place. If you are traveling beyond state borders, check to see if your permit is recognized at your destination.
Our state has made national headlines in the past because of our gun laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures “five states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin.
“Utah remains the only state to have a statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry, and thus, all 10 public institutions in Utah allow concealed weapons on their property.” University of Utah attempted to ban firearms; however, that ruling was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court.
Recent headlines have raised the question to many on both sides of gun control if students would be safer if teachers and faculty carried concealed weapons.
Jerry Peirce recently conducted his own survey to find out where members of our community stand on concealed weapons in school classrooms in our district. The numbers came back overwhelmingly favorable to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons. “In the community in which we live, I wasn’t surprised at the survey results.” He said his curiosity prompted him to conduct the private survey via facebook.
“I even went as far as emailing our superintendent and school board members about my personal views and concerns regarding the safety of our schools with positive responses,” Pierce added.
“We don’t condone it, we don’t encourage it, we just follow the state law,” Superintendent Ken Adams stated.
The school district is scheduled to work on developing a plan with Randy Watt in January; however, that plan does not necessarily include concealed weapons.