Governor takes the high road on concealed carry bill
March 22, 2013
The governor has done it again. And we mean that in the nicest way possible.
On Friday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed House Bill 76, a law that would have allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
This is the second time in recent history that Herbert has stood up to the Legislature. Last year, he vetoed a bill that would have severely limited what teachers could tell students in sex-education classes.
We supported his stand on the sex-education bill then and we are equally supportive of his bold decision to stand firm on the state’s current concealed carry law now.
And if last fall’s General Election is any indication, the governor has a good grasp on the electorate. They, like the governor, have become weary of the far right’s ranting.
Unfortunately the governor may have a steeper hill to climb this year in order to ensure his veto of the gun bill is upheld. The concealed carry amendment bill was approved in both the House and the Senate by a three-to-one margin. That means the lawmakers could override the governor’s veto.
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We are hoping, though, now that the final frenzy of the legislative session has subsided, that cooler heads will prevail. At least one legislator has already said that he misunderstood the last-minute revisions to HB76 and regrets his decision to support it. Perhaps, if other legislators take the time to read the adopted version, they will feel the same way.
The governor has it right. The existing permit process is not a violation of anyone’s Second Amendment rights. It merely helps to educate responsible gun owners by requiring them to take a gun-safety course, and helps to weed out potentially violent criminals or people who might harm themselves.
If Utah lawmakers rally to override the veto, they may alienate more people than they realize. With the country still reeling from the Sandy Hook tragedy and a string of subsequent shootings, now is not the time to mimic Charlton Heston’s "pry it from my cold dead hands" ideology.
Instead, citizens are looking to their leaders to re-establish a sense of safety in our homes and schools. And, contrary to some lawmakers’ misguided notions, the answer does not lie in more guns with fewer regulations.
Governor Herbert made a wise decision. If they must, Utah legislators who voted for the bill can still tell the National Rifle Association they voted the party line and accept their campaign donations. But if they are smart they will let the veto stand.
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