Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breaking: Utah Governor Vetoes Bill to Allow Carrying Concealed Gun Without Permit

Herbert’s rejection of the so-called constitutional carry measure sets up clumsy override fight

Informative news from the Salt Lake Tribune, as Lee Davidson reports that Governor Gary Herbert, at his first practical opportunity since adjournment of the 2013 Utah General Legislative session, has predictably applied his gubernatorial power to wield his mighty veto pen, tentatively blotting out at least one highly controversial piece of 2013 legislation in one fell stroke
In that connection, the Governor accompanied yesterday's veto with this brief and helpful explanatory statement, which we've gleaned from Herbert's Facebook page:
Today I vetoed H.B. 76. I cherish the Second Amendment and the right of self defense which it protects. I also support Utah's current set of laws and regulations governing firearms. Utah's permitting system 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. 
As a gun owner and concealed firearm permit holder, I understand the value of the permit, both to firearm owners and to the public at large. As a State, we must exercise extreme care that we not impose undue burdens on the right to bear arms, but I have yet to receive any credible evidence that Utah's current permit process constitutes a hardship.
So yes; just as we predicted here at Weber County Forum just about this time last week, Rep. John G. Mathis's HB 76 is toast, for the time being at least, as a result of Herbert's executive intervention.  So long as our uppity, gun-loving state legislature doesn't suffer the inconvenient fate of getting dragged back to the now-abandoned Utah House and Senate legislative chambers for a post-session veto override vote, Herbert's veto will stand.

That latter legislative option is by no means inevitable of course, due to a variety of tricky obstacles which Mr. Davidson's story further sets forth:
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said legislative leaders will wait until after April 3 —the deadline for Herbert to sign bills — to see how many other bills could face attempts at a veto override. Then they will poll members about how many want an override session.
"I know HB76 passed both houses with a two-thirds vote," Niederhauser said. "But I really don’t know how hard or how soft that vote is. We won’t know until we do our polling."
House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said House members would be "thoughtful and methodical and evaluate whether or not they want to go into override. It’s a pretty serious thing."
While [Senate sponsor Allen] Christensen said he and others will push for a veto override, he does not know how strong of an appetite lawmakers have for that.
"When it comes to pushing back that strongly, there are a lot of those votes that were not emphatic. They were ‘yes’ votes for the bill — but will they hold up? I would certainly like to see the override happen, and I will be pushing for it. I would hesitate to try to guess at the results of an override session," Christensen said. [Links added].
So at this juncture, the future of this bill can be fairly characterized as stuck in limbo, we suppose, with Utah's legislative leadership evidencing something of a disarray, wondering on the one hand whether they can muster either the legislative political will and/or votes to both call the legislature back into session to again duplicate the intra-session 2/3 House and Senate majorities which would be necessary to shove HB 76 back down Herbert's throat.  Meanwhile, Governor Herbert, on the other hand, remains highly visible on Capitol Hil and keeps repeating the refrain "It ain't broke; so don't fix it" over and over again, every time some Utah news reporter sticks a microphone or notepad in his grill.

Needless to say, we'll be following developments regarding this bill with the an Eye of an Eagle, whilst the internecine bickering concerning the ultimate fate of  HB76 continues to play out.

And please don't neglect to throw in your own savvy 2¢, Gentle Readers, in our WCF comments section below.

Update 3/23/13 11:30 a.m.:

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