Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Paul Fraughton | Tribune file photo) The Utah House on Friday approved Rep. Brian Greene's bill that attempts to elevate Utah gun laws over federal laws. In this file photo, Steve Gunn, right, sitting next to Greene, voices his opposition to Greene's HB114.
Lawmakers again fail to act on gun-rights bill
Gun rights » Two hearings, two passes on bill that would put Utah laws above the federal rules.
First Published Feb 22 2013 11:56 am • Last Updated Feb 22 2013 10:50 pm

Another committee hearing resulted in another misfire Friday for Rep. Brian Greene’s bill that would seek to have state firearms laws trump federal gun laws.

Greene, a newly elected Republican from Pleasant Grove, was visibly frustrated by the delay and said it would be up to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Kay McIff, R-Richfield, to determine when it might get another hearing.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

When asked what he thought about the bill missing a vote for the second time — the committee ran out of time and had to adjourn before taking action — Greene said he wouldn’t be commenting. The bill was also heard Wednesday in committee but failed to get a vote when Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, made a motion to adjourn as time ran out in that meeting.

At stake for Greene is HB114, which is one of the more ambitious firearms proposals that drew fire from opponents due to a long, legal analysis by legislative lawyers that cautioned it would be ripe for being struck down for violating both the supremacy and commerce clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

The measure achieved notoriety for a provision that would grant local sheriffs the authority to arrest federal agents attempting to seize firearms from Utah residents — deeming that act a felony. It was amended to remove the felony charge.

During public comments Friday, lawmakers heard testimony ranging from a woman tearfully reading a poem to show her support for Greene’s measure to longtime supporter of tighter firearms control Steve Gunn.

"This bill rejects the rule of law," Gunn said. "And you should reject this bill."

Although the room was packed for the early morning hearing, it lacked the drama of Wednesday — so-called "Gun Day" — when the Legislature passed four gun bills out of committee. Those included a measure that would make Utah a "constitutional carry" state and eliminate the need for adults to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Greene’s measure became a focal point for gun-rights activists and saw a huge swell of support from about 1,500 who stood on the Capitol steps in January at a Gun Appreciation Day rally and heard Greene tell them he was going to introduce the bill.

It also hewed closely to a letter signed by 28 members of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association that said those locally elected law enforcement officials were willing to "trade their lives" in defense of the Second Amendment.


story continues below
story continues below

The proposal also largely mirrors proposals in 22 states, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, only Wyoming has managed to push such a measure to the House floor for a vote.

Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute of Utah — a Libertarian think tank — said one lawyer’s opinion on the constitutionality of Greene’s measure shouldn’t doom the legislation.

"Attorneys disagree all of the time," Boyack said. "By no means is this the law of the land and the interpretation by which the committee should take action."

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said she had lunch with Greene Friday afternoon, but he didn’t bring up his bill with her.

She said, however, it was important to get public opinion on the bill before the committee took action on it and didn’t have a quarrel with Perry’s decision to entertain a motion to adjourn minutes before the hearing was scheduled to end so lawmakers could get to the House chamber.

"I empower committee chairs to make those decisions and I will back them on those decisions," Lockhart said.

dmontero@sltrib.com

Twitter: @davemontero



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.