Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Tribune file photo) Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
Utah governor’s veto of bill to ditch gun permits sets up override battle
Politics » Herbert’s rejection of so-called constitutional carry measure sets up override fight.
First Published Mar 22 2013 10:40 am • Last Updated May 31 2013 11:37 pm

Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. But the fight is not over, as all sides are now gearing up for a veto override battle in the Legislature.

"I have yet to receive any credible evidence that Utah’s current permit process constitutes a hardship," Herbert wrote in a veto letter to legislative leaders. He added that HB76’s proposed removal of the existing permit provision in state law, scraps a system that "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."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, the Senate sponsor of the bill, accused the governor of "buckling into the fear of guns right now."

HB76, Christensen said, "is just reaffirming our constitutional rights to carry a sidearm, a weapon. It changes basically nothing except that you can cover it up" with such things as coat in the rain.

Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said he wasn’t surprised by Herbert’s veto and "I don’t see it as buckling to one side or another."

He said the governor had made "clear" that he opposed the bill all along, adding, "But we’re disappointed in his veto."

Anti-gun violence groups hailed Herbert’s action.

"I think it showed courage on the governor’s part, and good sense. The governor has said all along that he didn’t like the bill and that he didn’t see a reason to change the existing system. So his action is consistent with his words, which is refreshing in a politician," said Steve Gunn, a board member of the Gun Violence Prevention Center.

Monica Bellenger, cofounder of Utah Parents Against Gun Violence, said, "We feel that the current process to obtain a conceal carry permit in Utah is important, an important screening tool, and that the system works. We’re very, very proud that he took this step."

Public safety • Herbert noted in his veto letter that he is a gun owner and a concealed firearm permit holder — and said the class required for permits helps protect the public safety.


story continues below
story continues below

"In that class, we reviewed Utah’s firearm laws. The training explained under what circumstances a weapon may be drawn in self defense under Utah law," he wrote. "Both gun owners and the people of Utah benefit by having concealed firearm carriers receive and understand this information prior to receiving a permit."

Herbert also said the current system "prevents people who have been convicted of certain crimes from lawfully carrying a concealed weapon, including those who have been convicted of a violent crime," as well as revoking permits for those who have demonstrated they are a danger to themselves or others.

Among requirements for obtaining a permit is completion of a criminal background check. And, in recent years, the state Bureau of Criminal Identification, which oversees the program, has implemented a daily automated check designed to weed out those permit holders who should have their licenses revoked.

"I have received dozens of letters from law enforcement agencies opposing the bill," Herbert said, adding chiefs of police see it as a "‘dramatic change in Utah’s concealed carry permitting process that has been fair for the public, public safety, and concealed carry permit holders.’ I agree."

Among others who had asked Herbert to veto the bill were Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, the League of Women Voters and Parents Against Gun Violence.

HB76 was the highest profile measure among several bills seen as a gun-rights counter-punch to President Barack Obama’s push for expanded background checks, limited magazine capacities and bans on semi-automatic rifles after the mass shooting at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. The massacre killed 20 first-graders — including Utah native Emilie Parker — and six adults.

Lawmakers defeated several other gun-rights measures, including one that would have attempted to elevate state gun laws over federal firearms laws and another that would have barred police from citing a person with disorderly conduct merely for displaying a gun openly.

Herbert "put himself as a parent before a politician" in vetoing HB76 to "send a signal this is not the right bill at the right time and certainly not the right solution to avoiding potential Newtown disasters," said Thomas Panuzio, a Salt Lake City resident who grew up 20 minutes outside of Newtown and recently founded securingourschools.org.

Reason for the bill • The sponsor of HB76, Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, has repeatedly said the bill was simply a protection for ranchers who might find themselves in violation of the law by accidentally covering a gun while putting on a raincoat.

Herbert wrote in his veto letter, "I understand that concern, but am unwilling to discard an entire system that benefits the people of Utah and is supported by law enforcement when there could be a solution more narrowly tailored to address that issue."

Herbert during the legislative session repeatedly signaled his opposition to the bill, although he never threatened a veto outright.

Nevertheless, the bill passed 21-7 in the Senate and 51-18 in the House. Both vote totals — if they were to hold — would be sufficient to override the veto if lawmakers decide to challenge it. An override requires at least 50 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate.

Next Page >


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
  • Login to the Electronic 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.