City leaders unanimously pass firearm ordinance, smoke shop moratorium

Cedar City Council, Council Chambers, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 6, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Cedar City residents won’t have to worry about using a gun to defend themselves anymore following a unanimous vote by the City Council Wednesday to amend various sections in the city’s firearm ordinance that brings it into compliance with state law.

The vote follows in-depth discussions during previous City Council meetings.

Councilman Paul Cozzens first brought issues with the firearm ordinance to the attention of City Attorney Paul Bittmenn after a study was released by the Libertas Institute in November showing the ordinance was out of compliance with state law.


Read more: City firearm ordinance violates Constitution, state laws; amendments to come


Prior to the amendments, it was illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits, even in cases of self-defense. The changes, however, now make it legal to discharge a firearm inside city boundaries when self-defense is necessary.

The revised ordinance still forbids the open possession of firearms in city parks but reflects the allowances given by state law to allow concealed carry permit holders the right to carry in a public park. Likewise, concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry in designated “gun-free” zones. 

Prior to the ordinance changes, any business selling firearms could be closed under certain circumstances including riots. The council eliminated that type of business from the books, making it now possible for those businesses to remain open in times of emergency. However, city officials still have the power to close such retail outlets if necessary, Bittmen said.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to place a moratorium on opening future speciality smoke shops selling, among other items, e-cigarettes.


Read more: Youth e-cigarette usage climbs in Cedar City; council considers ordinance


The purpose of the moratorium is to give the city an opportunity to follow up on current research and allow time for the legislature to end to see what new laws, if any, may be passed concerning e-cigarettes. Information gathered through the next six months will be used to draft a current ordinance that takes as much available research into consideration as possible.

Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Northwest March 14, 2016 at 8:43 am

    This quote is directly from the story: “The revised ordinance still forbids the open possession of firearms in city parks but reflects the allowances given by state law to allow concealed carry permit holders the right to carry in a public park. Likewise, concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry in designated “gun-free” zones.”

    That means that the city’s ordinance still violates state law.

    UCA 76-10-500 (2) states the following:

    “This part is uniformly applicable throughout this state and in all its political subdivisions and municipalities. All authority to regulate firearms shall be reserved to the state except where the Legislature specifically delegates responsibility to local authorities or state entities. Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.”

    Cities are allowed to regulate discharge, and the city’s change to the ordinance is a move in the right direction.

    However, restricting the open carry of firearms violates state law. Likewise, the city has no business establishing “gun-free” zones. As stated previously, the state reserves the right to regulate firearms and does not grant that power to cities.

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