- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah lawmaker has revived a bill that would allow adults 21 and over to carry a concealed, unloaded gun without a permit, a proposal that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed two years ago and may reject again.

Rep. Curtis Oda, a Clearfield Republican sponsoring the bill, said there’s still broad support for the proposal among legislators, who in 2013 passed the measure with three-fourths of both the House and Senate in support.

Without a permit, Utah residents can openly carry an unloaded weapon. A gun is considered unloaded in Utah if there’s no round in the chamber.

Oda said his bill will simply allow someone to cover up the weapon and make it less distracting or distressing for those concerned about seeing a firearm.

“All we’re doing is saying, ‘You still can’t have one in the chamber. But we’re going to allow you to just cover it up because people seeing the gun out in the open just causes a lot of consternation,’ ” said Oda, a concealed-firearms permit instructor.

Idaho and South Dakota are considering similar “constitutional carry” proposals this year. Four states already allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Utah already has a form of constitutional carry under a law that allows anyone over 18 to carry a loaded, hidden gun in their car without a permit, Oda said.

Anyone already legally allowed to have a gun shouldn’t need government permission “to do what’s constitutionally guaranteed” under the Second Amendment right to bear arms, he said.

Herbert’s spokesman, Marty Carpenter, said in a statement Tuesday that the governor’s position on the proposal not changed since 2013. He declined to respond to a specific question about whether the governor would still veto the measure.

After Herbert’s veto two years ago, lawmakers fell 13 votes short of the 70 needed to convene an override session. Lawmakers cited the estimated $30,000 it would cost to hold a special session as a reason the vote failed.

“There will be plenty of support for the bill,” Oda said this week. “If the governor vetoes it again, I can’t answer for whether there will be support for an override.”

In his veto letter, Herbert argued that the concealed permit system is an important tool for law enforcement agencies. In order to carry a hidden gun, Utah law requires a training course, background check and a concealed-weapons permit.

Oda’s bill would still require anyone to get a permit if they wanted to carry a hidden loaded gun, have a permit that is recognized in other states or carry a gun on public transit or in schools.

In 2013, Herbert received a flood of letters from those opposing and supporting the bill.

Opponents of the bill included the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, which cited public safety concerns by eliminating the need for classes or background checks. Park City police Chief Wade Carpenter, who is president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, said Thursday that the chiefs still believe the training and background checks are important but the association has not taken a position on the bill.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide