Gun bill passes with ease

The Senate voted to allow guns on school campuses.

In the final amended version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Waddoups, R Taylorsville, was passed with 20 in favor and six against, with three absent. The bill will now move on to the House.

The amendment, written by Sen. Gregory Bell, R-Fruit Heights, protected the right of private-property owners to prohibit the carrying of guns on their property.

This includes businesses and private schools like Westminster College and Brigham Young University.

Then Waddoups proposed another amendment to protect private-property rights excluding those that were places of public accommodation, meaning places which the public frequents.

He said his amendment was meant to further clarify Bell’s amendment, but it sparked debate on the floor over the definition of public accommodation.

“Isn’t BYU a place of public accommodation? Isn’t Lagoon?” asked Sen. Dave Thomas, R-South Weber.

Waddoups said that wasn’t the intent of the bill. The bill is specifically meant to prohibit the U from banning guns, he said.

Private property that is a place of public accommodation, Waddoups said, could still restrict guns as it has in the past.

Sen. Karen Hale, D-Salt Lake City, asked if places like the Delta Center wouldn’t be forced to allow guns.

Waddoups said it would not, but when asked why not, he said, “That’s argumentation for another bill and another debate.”

Sen. Carlene Walker, R-Salt Lake City, said the wording would broaden the bill to include businesses.

“Aren’t all businesses meant to be places of public accommodation?” asked James Evans, R-Salt Lake City.

Waddoups said that because it was assumed state law didn’t restrict private property from prohibiting guns before, it would still be that way after the amendment. Exactly half of the senators present voted against the amendment.

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