Talk but no deal on permit-free concealed weapons bill
Gov. Gary Herbert met with Rep. John Mathis this week about his gun legislation that would allow an adult to carry a concealed firearm without a permit after Utah's top elected official has repeatedly indicated he's not supportive of such a measure.
Mathis, a Vernal Republican, said Thursday his meeting with Herbert was "very cordial" but he refused to discuss specifics about what Herbert asked in order to reverse course and support HB76.
The proposal was debated on the House floor Tuesday, but ultimately held by House Majority Leader Brad Dee in order to broker a meeting between Mathis and Herbert to talk about the bill.
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said one concession would be an amendment to change one of the controversial parts of the bill that a firearm could be loaded while carried by a legal adult. Instead, Aposhian said, the measure would be changed to unloaded meaning a person could have a full magazine, but the chamber of the gun must not have a round in it.
Aposhian has been working closely with Mathis on the bill that would, if signed by the governor, have Utah join about a half-dozen states that are considered so-called constitutional-carry states.
The bill would allow any adult to carry a firearm concealed without having to obtain a concealed weapons permit a permit that requires completion of a background check and a safety class.
Herbert said he wants to balance Second Amendment rights with public safety and also believed the laws currently on the books protect those constitutional guarantees and said the bill in its current form doesn't do that.
He said he gave Mathis suggestions, but that he's "not too pleased with in its present form."