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Gov. Herbert vetoes constitutional carry bill

By Josh Furlong  |  Posted Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 6:36pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has vetoed the constitutional carry bill passed by the Utah Legislature.

HB76 — known as the constitutional carry bill — would allow residents of the state to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Herbert's office told the KSL Newsradio's Doug Wright Show early Friday that the governor would veto the bill after hearing from many residents of the state and looking at the rights currently allowed under state law.

"The right to bear arms is a fundamental right which must be jealously protected," wrote the governor in a letter to House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, "HB 76S1 does not, however, impose a restriction on the right to bear arms. Rather, it removes an existing provision of Utah law that those who carry a concealed weapon obtain a permit. Utah's permitting system has been in place for decades, and in its current form for more than 15 years. In that time, it has become a national model."

"As a gun owner and concealed firearm permit holder, I understand the value of the permit, both to firearm owners and to the public at large," Governor Herbert wrote. "As a State, we must exercise extreme care that we not impose undue burdens on the right to bear arms, but I have yet to receive any credible evidence that Utah's current permit process constitutes a hardship."

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Current state law requires that an individual who wishes to conceal a firearm must have a permit to do so. However, the state allows individuals to open carry without a permit as long as the firearm is "unloaded", which means there is not a round in the "firing position" and the firearm must have at least two "mechanical actions" from firing.

Early this month, Herbert said he did not like the constitutional carry bill, telling reporters "I think the laws we have on the books right now protect our Second Amendment rights."

Several thousand people called and emailed the governor's office encouraging him to either sign or veto the bill. But in the end, Herbert sided with those who say Utah's current firearm laws are enough.

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"As I've said before, if it ain't broke don't fix it," Herbert said. "It's served us very well. I certainly believe it doesn't inhibit our ability to bear arms. Law enforcement certainly likes it and it helps them keep peace. And so, I just decided it wasn't good policy to change, so I vetoed the bill."

The question remains, however, whether the legislature will attempt to override the governor's veto. The legislature would be required to obtain a two-thirds majority to become a law.

Contributing: Richard Piatt

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