ST. GEORGE — Proponents of “open carry,” the lawful carrying of unconcealed firearms in public areas, met in a small gathering Saturday morning at Town Square in St. George to discuss state and local gun laws.
Several attendees were wearing firearms on their belts, and one had a pocket holster. The organizer of the event, St. George resident and business owner Larry Morrison, was no exception, carrying a pistol in a holster on his belt.
“It started out with a few people on utahconcealedcarry.com,” Morrison said, “which is a great place for anybody, especially in Utah, that’s going to carry firearms or who just wants to know the real laws surrounding things. That’s where people should go.”
The event was originally planned because the City of St. George had signs banning firearms in Town Square Park. However, the City Council passed an amendment at its July 30 meeting to drop the restrictions on the legal carrying of firearms in public parks, which was in conflict with state laws regarding guns. So, what was originally organized as somewhat of a protest event turned into more of a social gathering for open carry proponents.
The signs banning guns were no longer posted in the park.
“There are still other cities within Washington County that need to amend their ordinances also, Washington City and Hurricane for example…I’m sure they are following what St. George has done and will be following their example,” Morrison posted Tuesday on a Facebook page created for the event.
Families and children were in the park during the gathering, enjoying the cool morning and wading in the park’s water features. Aside from a few glances, no one seemed concerned that there was a group of 10 people around a table, most of whom were openly carrying firearms.
Morrison addressed that observation, stating that people seem to feel safer around a person or group of people openly carrying guns.
“We’re not doing anything shady or furtive,” Morrison said, adding that simply acting as if it were a normal part of life seems to assuage any fears others might have.
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