After pushing for lower BAC, lawmaker proposes allowing gun use above that limit

Local News

PROVO, Utah (News4Utah) – House Bill 155 will change the legal limit to drink and drive in Utah from .08 to .05.

The bill’s sponsor, state representative Norm Thurston, says the bill spurred a lot of conversations.

“The same definition an intoxicated person that applies to cars, also applies to possessing a dangerous weapon,” said Thurston.

For instance, after the DUI law passed, Thurston says groups pointed out existing state law — which says if  you’re over the limit, you can’t carry or operate a gun.

“The current law says it doesn’t matter where, or under what circumstances, you’re possessing a dangerous weapon. If you’ve been drinking, it’s a crime,” said Thurston.

Thurston says he and others realized that state law had already been flawed and now needed to change.

“The scenario is defending your home or defending your family. So, if somebody’s been at home drinking, they go to bed, and somebody breaks into their house, and is going to steal their stuff, is menacing their child — or whatever — the natural inclination is to jump out of bed, you grab the baseball bat you go downstairs you see what’s going on,” said Thurston.

He says grabbing a bat, or a gun, is actually illegal. And that’s what his bill is focused on changing.

But Steven Gunn, with Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah, thinks the bill is misguided.

“I think that’s a bad idea,” said Gunn.

“If a person is too intoxicated to drive, he should be too intoxicated to carry a weapon — or, to discharge a weapon,” said Gunn.

The bill has not been finalized. It would address a number of other issues as well that deal with the much talked about DUI law.

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