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Tribune Editorial: Bad gun bill caught in crossfire

First Published      Last Updated Mar 03 2017 07:10 am

Practical politicians are often heard to admonish their more ideologically pure allies that they should not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. That means not to turn up your nose at a bill or a rule you kind of like in the hope, often vain, that if you hold your ground you will eventually get something you think is ideal.

Such a dispute arose within the small but politically powerful segment of Utahns who think the problem with this state is that not enough of us are armed.

The result was bad for them, good for the rest of us.




One of the hopes of those who worship the mythology of the Wild West is that Utah's law requiring a rudimentary permitting process for those who wish to carry a concealed firearm be set aside in favor of a right of everyone to pack hidden heat.

Such a bill has passed the Legislature in the past, only to be vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert. His sound reasoning was that current requirements for a background check and some training to get a concealed-carry permit work fine and were no impediment to anyone's Second Amendment rights.

This year, Rep. Lee Perry tried again. But, in search of a way to make his House Bill 237 more palatable, he tried to balance the arms proliferation aspects of the bill with some language aimed at disarming those committing, or convicted of, acts of domestic violence.

But those efforts apparently offended the local shock troops of the National Rifle Association, who appallingly, if not surprisingly, spoke up for the right of wife-beaters to have a chance to become wife-shooters. The NRA not only opposed the bill but also threatened to campaign against any lawmaker who supported it.

The result was that Perry pulled the bill from consideration. Which means that, at least for now, concealed carry in Utah still requires a permit.

Which is, if not perfect, pretty darn good.

There is no reason for any change in state law that would encourage more people — particularly people who have received no training and undergone no background checks — to tote hidden weapons around in otherwise civil society.

The promise that, on occasion, some good guy with a gun will stop some bad guy with a gun is far outweighed by the certainty that more guns will mean more people taking risks, shooting themselves, creating lethal crossfires or committing suicide.

Sort of like what happened to Perry's bill.

 

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